Monday, October 23, 2006

Consumer Engagement - From Intrusive to Co-creation..


With rising consumer preferences, and emergence of more discerning consumers, marketers are revisiting their marketing and communication strategies.

Shaping up a consumer’s mindset no longer seems to be an effective mode. Instead, higher consumer involvement in the early stages of Marketing activities seems to be the mantra in the marketing world of the future.

In a recent article at imedia by Jim Nail, titled "The 4 Types of Engagement", the future of advertising has been mapped to the consumer’s decision making process. The author discusses the various kinds of engagement and their corresponding implications. A proposed model based on a level of engagement suggests disbanding the traditional model of AIDA (Attention Interest Desire Action) and incorporating Engagement Marketing instead.

The AIDA model prescribes getting attention of the consumer, arousing interest in your brand, creating a desire for it, ultimately leading to Action (purchase) towards the brand. Seems logical and effective; However, how and why does it no longer vibe with the marketers as such?

According to a brilliant post at Ageless Marketing, this sort of marketing is known as “Interruptive Marketing”, where one thinks in terms of intruding the consumer’s mind and taking control of his decision process. The trend of marketing needs to move from interruptive to engagement oriented. That is, rather than attempting an intrusion into the consumer’s mind, it has become imperative for the marketer to engage the consumer and co-create the product development and decision process with him. This would lead to a stronger relationship with the consumer, and help the marketers focus on a communication plan which is more consumer-oriented and has been worked based on the inputs of the consumers themselves.

As mentioned by David Wolfe, "Bilateralism versus unilateralism marks the differences between postmodern engagement marketing and modern interruptive marketing". Thus, a consumer needs to be more involved and engaged with the entire communication procedure not only to recall and repeat the communication, but also to live through the communication, to get engaged with the brand. This is possible, when the consumer “co-creates” the meaning of the brand and its elements.

Engagement, defined as turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context, involves a subtle, subconscious process in which consumers begin to combine the ad's messages with their own associations, affix symbols and decode metaphors to make the brand more personally relevant and palatable to the consumer. [Source:Imedia]

Interestingly, the research inferred that consumers engage with the ads at an emotional level first and then recall the ads, that is, the process of consumer purchase is “Feel, then Think, then Do”. Consumers process a lot of new information, including ads, on a subconscious, emotional level first, and later engage their rational mind to lead to action. So, a marketer should focus on raising stimulus to sensitize the consumer, to seduce the consumer, than provide fact-based push factors.

The 4 types of engagement cited in the article as part of Consumer Engagement are Media Engagement – Ad Engagement – Engagement Marketing and Brand Engagement.

Media engagement provides a context that can facilitate this engagement. The relative preference of one media over the other sets a platform, and engages a consumer to a particular set of media. The next step is to connect with the Advertisements, known as Ad Engagement, where the consumer relates to the ad and receives a personalized meaning out of it. Once the connect has been established, a stimulus must be provided to the ad to give it personal relevance. This is done through Engagement Marketing, which reactivates the associations and symbols at a time when the consumer is ready to move from the emotional, subconscious form of engagement to an active form.
The last step, Brand Engagement, ensures sustainability and loyalty towards the advertised Brand.
This happens when the messages and experiences blend into a combination culminating into a strong association with the brand per se, and not only the communication.

Impressive concept, and has more to do with the subconscious decision process of the consumer. Need to delve further to identify the stimulants and other support functions.

Interestingly, while I was looking for more material online on Engagement Marketing, I hit upon Communities Dominate Brands. Must admit, this blog is truly addictive, and if anyone wants to get a perspective on Engagement Marketing, and its nuances, this is undoubtedly THE place to spend some time on. Have a look and decide for yourself! ;) Definitely something I would refer to, in future discussions.

Did you get engaged with this post? or was this a consumer disconnect ;)?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So Engagement Marketing seems to be the mantra of the day.But a question that seem to be crossing my mind about this is:

In this kind of adaptive approach, which thrives on engagement from the consumer, would'nt it in a way act as a deterrent to the over all branding excercise of the brand? After all the Brand persay defines its unique identity, but when the consumer starts defining terms for the brand, wudnt it come in the way of the brand?

Michael said...

This is a good article. I just stumbled across it. I think I will retweet.

I recently wrote a similar Post a few days ago at manytomanymarketing.com.