OPINION: How Engagement Experiences Leverage a Brand’s Accountability

OPINION How Engagement Experiences Leverage a Brand’s AccountabilityThe following is an exclusive guest contributed post to MMW from Roy DeYoung, Senior Vice President of Creative Services for PM Digital.

Since the advent of ecommerce, competition for consumer attention, sales, and subsequently, loyalty has grown; with increased customer touchpoints and accessibility more brands and products are launching everyday making it more difficult to attain or maintain market share. Regardless of size and history every brand- from startups like Birchbox to brand giants like Nike- have to continuously battle existing, and even upcoming competitors for consumer affinity and dollars.

Resting on brand laurels is no longer an option; consumer satisfaction with an ad campaign or a product launch from yesteryear does not necessarily translate into long-term interest or loyalty. If brands want to have a voice in today’s fluid on and offline markets, they have to be willing to invest in engagement strategies captivating enough to garner attention but nimble enough to adapt to consumers’ ever-changing behaviors and lifestyles.

Brands cannot expect to survive on their product alone, because without content and user experiences to support the product, consumers feel less compelled to purchase. Additionally, overarching engagement strategies also hold brands accountable for their products and services. Website content, advertising, and event campaigns create more dimensions and opportunities for consumers to observe, ask, learn and interact with brands before opening their wallets. Dynamic interactions are a significant indicator as to how much brands value their customers’ needs, experience and feedback.

Alone, these four engagement strategies contribute to enhancing brand awareness, however, in tandem, they can enhance brand equity:

  • Blogs – Today, websites often provide the first brand impression, resulting in a widespread push for optimal site design and UX. But in addition to aesthetics and intuitive usability, users also crave information. While brand blogs use to be a novelty, today they are a necessity. Providing audiences with relevant, and interesting content to support either specific products or the overall culture of the brand, blogs have become a go-to source of information and entertainment for customers. A recent survey conducted by TNS and WPEngine found that 62% of Americans want to see content directly from brands.  If brands deprive their consumers of original content, they may be ultimately depriving themselves of consumer dollars.
  • Podcasts- Podcasts are often overshadowed by video content and social hangouts. However, they offer inherent value that branded, online videos cannot (yet) compete with: mobility. As our culture becomes increasingly mobile-dependent, we crave experiences that allow us to be entertained or educated in subways, airplanes, cars and anywhere in between.  Podcasts can offer brands an extra edge of accessibility so that their content is never far from consumer headphones.
  • Out of Home Experiences– Consumers are constantly bombarded with physical advertisements, from Subway posters to billboards and store signage, we’ve become slightly desensitized to branded attempts at seeking attentions. However, with call to actions embedded within out of home campaigns, brands have the opportunity to re-engage consumer attention spans. L’Oreal is one brand experimenting with innovative out-of-home experiences. In October of 2013, the cosmetics brand placed beauty vending machines in New York City subway stations. While the stint allowed customers to buy certain products on-the-go, it also heightened brand interest by implementing a new twist on traditional vending machines.
  • Guerilla Marketing – It’s difficult to surprise audiences in this day in age as they are now more in tuned with tried and true advertising and brand practices. However, enacting a real-time, physical campaign can reinvigorate interest and excitement for brands.  Uber is one brand that has masterfully incorporated real-time events into their greater mobile marketing strategy. From delivering ice cream to providing adopt-a-kittens, Uber delivers novelty experiences that convince consumers to pay attention to their brand and, hopefully, download their application.

These examples of dynamic brand interactions are a significant indicator as to how much brands value their customers’ needs, experience and feedback. Consumers need to continuously be reminded of their value and delivering engagements across touchpoints is an assured way of delivering this affirmation and maintaining loyalty.