What is brand engagement?
Brand engagement refers to the creation of attachments between consumers and brands. These attachments may be emotional or rational, and they produce brand loyalty over time. This solidifies the brand and helps to improve the customer experience.
Two types of brand engagement exist:
- Internal brand engagement occurs between employees or other close stakeholders and a brand.
- External brand engagement occurs between public consumers and a brand, also known as brand awareness.
Brand engagement is an important part of brand management.
Internal vs external brand engagement
There are two types of brand engagement. Each affects your company and brand differently.
Internal brand engagement
Have you ever participated in a company event, received corporate swag, or done "team-building" exercises?
Those were all mechanisms of internal brand engagement.
Internal brand engagement refers to the attachment that employees, investors, partners, suppliers, intermediaries, or other stakeholders have with a brand. It goes hand in hand with the development of a company's culture and helps keep all parties aligned with the stated mission or business goals.
When your brand is well-developed, it manifests throughout your company and delivers many benefits. Brand engagement:
- Improves employee performance
- Decreases employee turnover
- Produces a cohesive company culture
- Keeps the organization focused on goals or values
- Builds community
- Develops the company's narrative
External brand engagement
External brand engagement is what most people think of when they hear the phrase brand engagement. It involves the interactions that your customers have with your brand which foster emotional attachment and loyalty.
As people come into contact with your brand, they engage with your brand in places called "touchpoints." These are simply opportunities for interaction. Some common touchpoints include your brand's:
- Social media presence
- Physical store
- Advertisements in public
- Online reviews
- Word-of-mouth from others
You can often identify these by creating a user journey map. Brand engagement happens when you configure touchpoints to enhance your customers' interaction with your brand.
Examples of brand engagement in action
Research by Salesforce shows that it takes an average of six to eight touches before a customer is ready to buy. That's how many times they will interact with your brand — and how many opportunities you have to create brand engagement.
There are many opportunities for brand engagement, but here are four very common ones:
Social media engagement
Some 90 percent of people buy from companies they follow on social media, and social media use overall has skyrocketed in the last few years. This makes it one of the best places to launch brand engagement campaigns to attract and keep your audience.
Different social media platforms will be more conducive to different types of media, but they can all be used to improve brand engagement. Whether you're on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or something else, consider trying one or more of the following:
- Giveaways and promos
- Unique hashtags to collect user-generated content
- Posting questions, quizzes, or things that evoke discussion
Discount codes & vouchers
Everyone loves saving money. Discounts, coupons, and vouchers are an easy way to make customers happy to shop with you and increase customer engagement.
Some research shows that customers feel more loyal toward brands that readily give out discounts. That's because coupons and discounts suggest a consideration for the customer's best interest rather than just your own bottom line. Opportunities for discounts or coupons include:
- When signing up for a newsletter or loyalty program
- Birthdays, anniversaries, or special days
- Upon reaching a certain spending threshold
We're used to thinking of advertisements being a one-sided communication, but they don't have to be. From clever ads that encourage viewers to perform an activity to interactive displays that keep content dynamic, you have the opportunity to encourage brand engagement even on the very first touch.
Signage, ads, and similar materials can all become vehicles of brand engagement in a few simple but clever ways. Consider:
- Creating quizzes that capture minds and curiosity.
- Inviting viewers to participate in a scavenger hunt that leads them to a physical store.
- Evoking a strong reaction such as laughter or anger to form an emotional attachment.
Leveraged correctly, live events can dramatically improve brand engagement. Not only do they create a sense of exclusivity by requiring people to be in a certain place at a certain time, but live events are a great way to form a human connection with your customers. Some 77 percent of marketers even still use them as a core of their digital marketing strategy for just this reason.
In 2021, live events don't need to mean physical events — though they can. Virtual events not only reflect a commitment to social responsibility but are a great way to improve your brand's reach beyond what's possible in your locale. Some examples of live events that drive brand engagement include:
- Webinars or web conferences
- Auctions, dinners, or charity fundraisers
- Live demos or real-time online shopping in a store — especially those which are human-guided
5 Best practices for improving brand engagement
Brand engagement is an important part of brand management. Getting it right means growing your brand, reaching new audiences, and delivering better experiences to your employees or customers.
However, there are a few things you need to do. Make sure to:
Map the customer or employee journey. Having a clear understanding of the journey your users take when embarking on your brand will help you optimize it. You'll also spot touchpoints, some of which may be unique to your business.
Identify your metrics ahead of time. Know what you need to track to measure success and have an engagement strategy in place to collect this data.
Observe behaviors in real-time. By emphasizing real-time observation, you'll remain sensitive to changing market or consumer demands. This will help you optimize the experience faster.
Personalize as much as possible. Did you know that 80 percent of customers want a personalized shopping experience? Personalization also increases employee engagement by as much as 30 percent.
Improve your internal and external brand engagement together. Don't focus on one and forget the other. A successful brand is attractive to work for and engaged employees will help make your brand successful.