Amidst continual shifts in social media algorithms and highly competitive business markets, brands need to take a smart approach to capture customers’ attention. Telling rich brand stories that encourage dialogue, and address the needs and interests of the customer builds a strong, engaging relationship with a brand, which in turn increases loyalty and motivates future purchases.
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is the cultivation of a relationship between a brand and its customers that goes beyond a simple transaction. With intentional, consistent efforts to provide value, an engaging brand can increase customer loyalty for long-term value.
How Does a Creative Branding Agency Engage Customers?
If you want your brand to become a household name, you have to have a strong brand to start. Businesses often take branding for granted, but you can’t build the kind of loyalty, recognition, and equity you want without a powerful brand.
Branding agencies have the expertise to cultivate compelling brands that resonate with customers. With storytelling that is relevant to the brand personality, effective, well-crafted brands can inspire people.
Building a Strong Brand Story
Storytelling is a natural part of building human connection. Successful brands create a narrative that positions them as unique, and taps into the emotions of the audience. All aspects of a brand come together to form a captivating story, from the motivation for starting a business to its value to customers.
Founded in pursuit of a dream, Brandini Toffee is one such brand with a strong story that connects. With its local roots and storied history, the toffee company shared the tenacity that created a small business dedicated to spreading joy through delightful confections.
Similarly, the gourmet ice cream company Salt & Straw rose from local roots in Portland to nationwide delivery and Scoop Shops across major US cities. Salt & Straw gained attention locally as a neighborhood gathering place that happened to have excellent ice cream, and now with shops spread all over the country, it maintains that story of humble beginnings and place to connect with your community.
Developing a Strong Brand Personality
A brand personality creates an emotional association in the mind of the audience, helping it resonate with target customers. If we think of a brand as a person, the brand personality defines its attitude and distinctive traits that reflect its image – such as an outdoor brand adopting a tough or rugged personality.
For example, the Japanese candy brand HI-CHEW has a passionate cult following and an image of uniqueness, individuality, and creativity. Its marketing campaigns further reinforce this personality by highlighting unique fruit flavors in imaginative settings, bursting with color and life – for an audience as distinctive as the brand itself.
On the opposite end of the spectrum – but no less distinctive – is Death Wish Coffee. Embracing the stereotype of coffee drinkers being a little “rough around the edges” before having their morning brew, the brand relies on edgy imagery and copy that communicate its rebellious personality. For example, one of the brand’s motivating calls to action says, “Mugs up, mother functioners.”
Offering Value Through Content
Engagement marketing is about valuable content more than products and services. The content isn’t supposed to be promotional but a genuine effort to help customers – offering value in exchange for attention.
A perfect example of content elevating a brand is Makeup Geek, an e-commerce makeup company started by a high school music teacher with a passion for cosmetics. After launching her YouTube channel by the same name for makeup tutorials, she brought those teaching skills into her brand to help customers get more value out of her products.
Nationwide Insurance publishes newsletters for pet insurance customers to add value by highlighting how to proactively care for pet health and avoid the most common pet health issues. To help their content gain visibility, they built a campaign in corrdination with HR directors who offer Nationwide pet insurance benefits to employees.
Nurturing a Brand Community
Brands and customers are no longer a one-way conversation. Part of engagement is sharing dialogue with customers and encouraging them to share with one another. Customers not only get more value out of the brand and its products or services, but they satisfy the inherent human desire to be part of something.
One of the strongest brand communities in history is Harley Davidson. Despite being around since 1903, the brand faced extinction in 1983. Now, it’s valued at nearly $7 billion, and that’s mostly due to the commitment around building a brand community of passionate customers that enjoy the lifestyle and ethos of the brand. Though they may be from different walks of life, Harley Davidson riders share the thrill and romance of the open road as part of the Harley Owners Group (HOG). And with that, they gain the benefits of an exclusive community of fellow riders.
Wahoo’s Fish Taco, a popular franchise with a cult following, also has a strong personality with a laid-back attitude, an affinity for surf & skate culture, and a SoCal energy. Relying on the nostalgia of the 1990s, its founding year, and a “locals-only” vibe, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos brought its community together with a collection of skate brand stickers in collaboration with surf & skate brands. Fans were encouraged to put stickers in unexpected places, both expanding the community and giving a “nod” to those who were already within it.
People want to feel inspired with a brand’s vision. And, as part of that brand, customers feel that they play a role in a shared vision of the future or social impact.
For example, philanthropic brands will often highlight their efforts to make the world a better place. Toms, the e-commerce shoe company, often shares its promise that for each pair of shoes purchased, it will donate one pair of shoes to a child in need around the world with its One for One model.
American Career College, a vocational healthcare education institution, is designed around helping students successfully enter new careers. In some circles, trade schools have a reputation for being “lesser colleges,” but American Career College turned that idea on its head with a campaign focusing on “Real College for the Real World” to inspire prospective students to take the next step in their careers.
Engage Your Customers with the Help of a Creative Branding Agency
Brands are more successful when customers have a genuine emotional connection with the brand’s origin story, personality, or community. This connection doesn’t come with a single sale, and cannot be built on the basis of impulse buys. True brand relationships require ongoing conversations that build a real sense of community and understanding between brands and consumers.
Gigasavvy is a creative branding agency that specializes in building authentic consumer and B2B client connections through storytelling. Contact us to talk through how we can help you build stronger relationships with your customers.