Assuming you have defined your brand, or at least expressed why your business exists, how you make your customers’ lives better and what differentiates you, now what? It’s critical to have a strategy to make the most of every touchpoint and engagement. Every opportunity can either help you connect with your target audience or leave it to chance that they have a meaningful, unique experience that helps you stand out from the competition.
What is brand engagement?
Simply put, it’s walking the talk consistently — every time a customer or prospect interacts with your company, whether through your employees, online, or through your communications and advertising. A brand is what people feel and experience about your product, service, or organization. It’s part rational, but also very emotional. It’s about being authentic. Brand engagement is ensuring you have a plan and guidelines on how you bring your brand to life in everyday real interactions.
A personal brand example is Lemonade Insurance. I purchased pet insurance with it when I picked up our rescue dog. Its slogan is, “Instant everything, Great Prices, Big Heart.” It seemed it made things easy and fast, and it actually cared about having the right coverage for my pup. Its website says, “Get insured in seconds and get paid in minutes.” The proof came when I filed my first claim.
Its app was simple. The claim was handled fast. Communication was friendly, approachable and personable. Even if it raised prices, I wouldn’t switch. I now have that emotional and rational connection. The company has my trust. It lived up to what it said, and now it’s no longer just a transactional arrangement.
Brand engagement tips
- Your employees are your biggest brand asset. Every employee represents your company, so it’s important they understand your brand — its mission, vision and values. Give them examples of what it looks like, and what it doesn’t, when handling an interaction, customer complaints, sales calls and communications over the phone, in person, or through social platforms. Once employees truly understand and embody your culture, they won’t need to reference a handbook on what to do — they will know what is right to do.
- Listen to your customers. Follow up on reviews, complaints and compliments. Sales and other metrics are important, but they only tell you what happened after the fact. Listening to your customers and creating a dialogue can help you understand why they buy from you. Their actions are one thing, but it’s also important to know what they are thinking and feeling.
- Tell your story. Every company has a personal story, and most don’t talk about it or, if they do, they don’t do it very well. People want to buy from and work with people they like, understand and share common values with. Your story — not just what you do and how you do it, but why you do it — helps create that emotional connection that is critical to long-term loyalty.
Remember, it’s more than just words. Any company can write the most eloquent mission statement, have a beautiful website and create stunning ads. But at the end of the day, the reality of your customers’ experience is the test. Think about what you say, look at every interaction and question how well you are delivering on your promises — consistently. ●
Dean Ilijasic is Co-founder of Long & Short of It