By: Ujaya Shakya

Why Consumer Engagement?

Engaging your consumers is creating a relationship with them. When you engage your consumers you build goodwill and ultimately you become a destination for them. Consumer engagement is a primary driver of business success today. It shows that fully engaged consumers buy more, stay with you longer, and are more profitable to retain than creating new customers. Hence, you should always look for opportunities to engage your consumers.

As marketers, we need to go beyond normal marketing, and drive meaningful interactions and engagement with them. Consumer engagement is the resulting impact of a brand interacting with consumers through a variety of marketing initiatives. The goals of any such consumer engagement programs are to create meaningful consumer impact and generate positive behavioral results such as sales or inquiry for the product or to create the emotional impression such as changing attitudes towards the brand.

Tools of Consumer Engagement

Consumer engagement framework typically includes the following activities:

  • Conventional advertising & public relations
  • Sports, music and event partnership
  • Experiential marketing
  • Digital and online platforms

Experiential Engagement

Almost all of these consumer engagement routes are experiential, personal, and hence target-specific.

Many brands are now using experiential marketing that aids in the creation of memorable customer experience to build brand loyalties and eventually drive sales. When a customer gets First-hand unforgettable experience with a brand, whether through a product trail in a controlled environment or through other memorable experiences, he or she is more likely to consume that brand and at the same time advocate it. Advocacy means spreading the word to families and friends and the impact is huge.

Experiential marketing tactics and campaigns could range from street-corner events to unique themed events in five-star venues. For example, I still remember, in one recent winter there was this “Vaseline Mero Amazing Skin” mobile team, which was roaming across the Kathmandu valley taking skin moisture test for better skin. The day campaign was connecting consumers offline and then engaging them online through Facebook contests.

Similarly, not many months back, there was an ultimate luxury event in 1930 set-up at a premium venue in Kathmandu to launch Johnny Walker & Sons Odyssey, an ultra-premium blended scotch whiskey in the presence of the Top 50 personalities of the country. These campaigns & consumer engagement events provide people with fun and memorable experiences which connect them one to one with the respective brands.

Studies done across the world have shown that these consumer engagement programs not only increase their consideration of purchase of those brands but also they would tell others about the experiences they had during these consumer engagement programs.

The Social Media Edge

Experiential marketing through social media has an important place within consumer engagement ideas today. Papular social media platforms can help to magnify the impact with their growing popularity among the relevant target audience. These efforts allow brands and consumers to become collaborators in the whole marketing process. As a result, it gives brands more effective access to connect with wider consumers. It is good to see that certain brands have already realized these trends and they have launched online to offline engagement programs like the one which was going on recently for Asian Paints where customers have to upload the photo of their beautiful home to participate through Facebook applications. When the selection was done well-known celebrities visited their homes and announced the winners in the media.

Cases of Experiential Engagement in Nepal

Coca Cola is another brand which is engaging with the consumer across the world and also in Nepal via football. They are involved in promoting Coca Cola Cup Interschool Football Tournaments across Nepal. Likewise, Ncell was engaging with customers through musical platform With “Ncell Rocks” at the beginning of 2013 taking National level rock stars like Nima Rumba, Adrian Pradhan, celebrity VJ Suraj Singh, and others to smaller towns across the country.

Since two years, Dabur Real juice has been involved in building a brand property “Real School of Nepal” which is a national level competition where schools from all over Nepal compete to become national champions showcasing their talents, confidence, intelligence, and teamwork. They are also amongst the first to start SMS based consumer engagement programs in Nepal, where consumers can participate by giving the right answer via SMS.

Yes, brands need to take up outreach programs of all kinds conversations, experiences, advertising -on all touch points and platforms, conventional and digital. It requires an engagement too, although most of the time these “engagement” are counts on the basis of awareness, reach & participation, or likes, tweets & website visits in digital platforms. But all these alone cannot provide true measures of engagement.

Why? Because getting attention and even awareness for a brand in no way leads in reality to engagement with the brand to a positive end. Emotional engagement with the brand should be the ultimate objective since it’s the point where the consumers “start to see” the brand as the best option to meet their expectations in the category where the brand competes. When the consumers start doing that, they behave positively towards the brand, the real bottom line, because real emotional engagement correlates very highly with positive consumer behavior, which ultimately leads to sales, and profitability for the business.

About the Book

Ujaya Shakya’s Brandsutra is a collection of inclusive & incisive thoughts on the marketing & advertising field in Nepal. This book tries to introduce all of the 360-degree communication touch-points, elucidating upon the model of Integrated Marketing Communication, or convergent branding.

Published by FinePrint

Ujaya Shakya is the founder and managing director of Outreach Nepal based in Kathmandu and the author of ‘Brandsutra’.

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