What’s the image that pops into your mind when someone utters “Nike”? Along with the swoosh logo, depending on your age and sports preference, anything from Michael Jordan to Maria Sharapova would be the answer.
To follow up, what’s the emotion your body and mind feel when you see or hear or wear a Nike? Even if you’re someone who has never sweat it out on a track or court, you will likely feel energized, confident, and athletic.
Why does that happen? Hold that thought.
Has Nike ever advertised their specifications such as insole and outsole thickness or even features like pressure-tested air-cushioning? I’m sure they’d be in the fine print but not as their branding message that engages with their customers and admirers.
Over the years, Nike carefully and consistently cultivated how they want to be perceived in people’s minds. By associating themselves with top athletes and dishing out consistent brand engagement campaigns that have an emotional connection with the customers, Nike built its durable empire.
That’s why we automatically associate Nike with positive and athletic emotions like energy and confidence. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can build strong brands via brand engagement strategies.
What is brand engagement strategy?
By now, you’d have inferred what brand engagement is from the example in the introduction. But let’s properly define it, too.
Brand engagement is not just making your brand known to your potential audience. It’s about creating a persona for your product/service/application in the minds of your users and helping them form an emotional connection with your brand. That is done by stitching together and implementing a brand strategy.
Many have the misconception that a brand engagement strategy is about a logo, tagline, and using uniform colors and fonts across platforms. No, it’s about creating moments your customers can admire, and connect with emotionally. In those moments, your audience can fall in love with your products, and stay customers for life.
Take Apple, for instance. They have a cool logo, an attractive tagline, and a range of excellent products. But they rarely focus on marketing their tech specifications. Instead, Apple consistently focuses on creating a persona its users associate with innovation, creativity, and intelligence. That persona deeply ingrained in every customer and admirer is because of Apple’s brand engagement strategies. What’s the outcome: Once an Apple user, you remain one for life (almost).
Why is brand engagement strategy important?
Just because Apple, Nike, and other top brands do it, does that mean everyone has to have a brand engagement strategy for their business?
The answer is no, initially. If you’re just starting, you’ll have fewer customers than an established brand. Your goal should be to increase sign ups and your total number of active users. To achieve that, you’ll need to focus on brand awareness rather than brand engagement.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is about reaching out to your target audience to alert them to your existence and point out what problems you can solve for them. This is done so you come to mind when the need arises.
However, as you grow, you’ll have a customer base, and you’ll need to turn your attention from finding customers to keeping them. It won’t happen instantly but with a good brand engagement strategy, it’ll happen over time.
Building loyalty and making customers for life
People show affinity towards certain brands because they can associate themselves with that brand’s persona. For example, if someone prefers a Rolls Royce over a Bugatti, it conveys they’re into comfort rather than speed and that’s their preferred persona.
A brand engagement strategy helps people identify themselves with your brand and build loyalty towards you so they’re more likely to become your customers for life. Loyal followers will help your brand grow, too. They’ll become your unpaid advocates doing the marketing, support, and PR for you without expecting anything in return.
Reduce churn and retain your customers
Finding a new customer costs 5 to 10 times more than it costs to retain an existing customer. By having a brand engagement strategy in place, you can actively engage with your customers and keep them emotionally connected and invested in you. This connection will help you retain your customers and reduce churn, which will directly and positively impact your revenue.
Get feedback, improve your product, repeat
User feedback is a goldmine. Well, it’s a data mine. You might be the one developing your product/application, but your customers are the ones using it on a daily basis. Having a brand engagement strategy will enable you to connect with your customers and hear their feedback. You can absorb their feedback to work on your upcoming features.
You can also hear use cases straight from your customers. These can then be used for marketing campaigns. By letting your customers speak for you, you can connect easier with others who are interested in your product.
Key elements of building a brand engagement strategy
As you grow and are in need of a brand engagement strategy, there are a few key elements you should keep in mind before putting one in place.
Have a long-term vision: A brand engagement strategy isn’t something that will benefit you instantly. It’s a long-term plan, so the thinking that goes behind it should do the same.
Know who you and your ideal customers are: Many brands make the mistake of trying to identify themselves with multiple personalities. It dilutes the intensity of their campaigns, becomes erratic over time, and confuses its audience. Be clear about who you are and who your target audience is before building your brand engagement strategy.
Building brand emotion: While constructing your brand persona, build emotion around your brand. Instead of focusing on the features, focus on how your customers should feel and build on that. Features will become outdated, but the emotions your brand represents won’t.
- Be consistent with the outbound messaging: Be it in your copy or your designs, be consistent in the messages that go out from your brand. Think about Nike again—whenever you see a swoosh, your mind instantly thinks of them because you’ve been seeing it for a long time. That’s the power of consistency. Changing your style or message can create a disconnect among your users and confuse them.
How to measure brand engagement campaigns
Unlike marketing campaigns, we can’t instantly measure brand engagement strategy success. It’ll take some time to settle in your audience’s minds and reflect on your business.
However, there are a few metrics you can monitor so that when a noticeable change happens, you’ll be able to track it properly.
Growth in direct and organic traffic: When there is a steady increase in your direct traffic, it means people are not finding you via search engine suggestions as they would with organic traffic. Instead, they’re aware of your brand and offerings and searching for you directly. Measuring direct traffic will help you identify how well your brand engagement strategy works. Similarly, if your brand engagement strategy is effective, you’ll experience an increase in your organic traffic and backlink numbers.
Social reach: Keeping an eye on the social noise around your brand can help you identify shifts associated with brand engagement campaigns. When you’re doing great with engagements, there will be a steady increase in the number of followers, interactions, mentions, shares, and overall reach.
Increase in engagement rate: When your brand engagement strategy is working, you’ll see a gradual increase in your customer engagement. You can measure this through open rates of emails, click rates in the links you share, your site’s bounce rates, and similar metrics. It shows that people are interested in hearing what you want to say. If you’d like to learn more about measuring metrics, check out our blog on top customer engagement metrics.
Surveys: If you want to take it upon yourself to measure the effectiveness of your strategy and campaigns, you can conduct surveys and interviews with your target group to identify how you’re performing.
Now that you have a better idea about what a brand engagement strategy is and how it should be pieced together and implemented, you’ll be able to build durable business empires.
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog where we discuss the top engagement strategies that brands are implementing to attract loyal customers.