Exposure or Engagement… Pick one.

Think about where your brand is in its lifecycle. Is it really about increasing awareness and getting more exposure in the marketplace? For a lot of brands, especially established and well-known brands, it’s more about engaging your consumers on their terms in order to influence and create deeper brand experience. Stop talking at them and create a two-way dialogue that lets your consumers know you get who they are.

You can do this by diverting your traditional media dollars (not just the media buy but the production allocation) and creating non-traditional ways to reach your audience. Forgo that extra :30 Super Bowl spot for 2.2MM (plus the cost to produce it) and use a fraction of your savings to bring life to a sponsorship or brand attribute with a unique promotional event or experience. Deliver your brand’s relevance to consumers when they’re most attentive, and in a way they’re receptive to getting it.

Senses make sense

It’s well-documented that people learn best when multiple senses are engaged. Educators use this dynamic and your brand can, too. How can you bring your brand to life. Set it free from the cruel confines of the screen or the printed page. Create a sensory experience that allows your consumers to touch, taste, smell, hear, see and occupy three dimensional space with your brand. Can I get an Amen?

Think of the power you can unleash by giving someone a relevant, sensory experience with your brand and letting them tell several of their friends about it. Once you are freed up from building awareness, you can turn your energies toward consumer consideration, favorability and the propensity to switch. If they’re already a customer… you can deepen that relationship while you learn more about them as an audience.

Don’t say. Be.

What would you do, if you were challenged to stop saying what your brand is and start being what your brand is? How would you allow consumers to experience the value of your brand if you had an attentive audience for several minutes? What is engaging about your brand? For one of our retail clients – an electronics retailer – it was pretty simple… give them the ultimate audio experience in something called the “Boom Boom Room.”

When the bass frequency is rattling your adam’s apple… you’re having a brand experience that you won’t soon forget and you’re likely to tell all your teenage pals about it. According to this client’s tracking, you’re also 8 times more likely to redeem the discount coupon with a purchase than you were with the prior year’s program. The point is, you can build a deeper connection with an experience and let your brand stand on intrinsic merits vs. using some clever metaphor to tell your story like most mass media advertising.

Start with the audience

If you’re after engagement, start with these questions: When is my brand most relevant to my audience? Where is that audience when they are paying attention? How can I engage them in way that supports the brand’s relevance and their state of attentiveness?

If you know your audience well enough to answer these questions accurately, you’re off to a good start. You should be able to build an experience that engages them on their terms, demonstrates your relevance in their lives and get a lot of dialogue along the way. For marketers that can do that, there is nothing to fear in the brave new world of consumer control. In fact, there are great opportunities to build a relationship with your customers.

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