Customer Engagement is a new addition to the pool of tactics that a marketer has at his disposal, in his long standing mission to grab & retain customer attention and converting the attention to trials and then usage.
So, what all does customer engagement cover in its ambit? – Customer Engagement refers to any campaigns or activities that make the customer interact with the brand, be it working with the brand, be it interacting with other users of the brand etc. This interaction is different from the one-way information flow from TV/Print Commercials and also different from the final Sales transactions which are about exchange of money for goods/services.
This topic caught my attention recently, when I saw the campaign by Nivea for their new range of deodorants. This campaign was about ‘shedding sleeves‘. The campaign talked about the deodorant having qualities to repair skin and also whiten the armpits. Purportedly, it gave the women enough confidence to wear sleeveless garments, and ‘showing-off’ their armpits. The campaign concept is about encouraging women to use the Nivea deodorant and hence take up the challenge of going sleeveless. They showcased videos of women who had adopted back the ‘sleeveless’ fashion post using Nivea. This kind of campaign (present both in TVCs as well as in digital space) induces activity for the user in association for the brand. And when the user does something in the form of this direct association, it ensures a stronger brand recall and also generates initial trials, which is helpful for a new launch like Nivea. (Couldn’t find a video for this India campaign yet, will post as soon as possible)
Gillette also tried a similar campaign some time back, called Women Against Lazy Stubble (WALS). They also roped in some Bollywood actresses for the same. Check out a press release and an ad for the same here:
Press release: http://www.shaveindia.com/pressrelease.php
This ad too attempted to engage customer in a sort of mass movement, and also tried to bring in shaving as an element of self-respect for men, which added to the existing positioning.
How it helps:
Customer Engagement is about a different form of promotion that companies can employ. It is different from routine mass media commercials on TV and Radio, merely because it makes the customer play an active role in the promotion, instead of passively receiving TV Commercials and Radio voice-overs. This ‘active‘ level helps in building more loyalty, and most of all, it contributes to brand recall. Today, a lot of marketers are struggling to maintain brand recall. With all their efforts, path-breaking advertisements with the best of humor or shock value, they end up gaining a strong ad-recall instead of a strong brand recall. And an ad-recall is almost useless if you can’t remember what was being conveyed or what brand was being discussed.
This is the primary reason why companies are increasingly trying to engage customers in activities, both in the physical and digital realms. It is especially aided by the rapidly spreading social networks online. Let us see how this format grows and evolves in the times to come.