Originally published on Forbes
But simply measuring engagement is yesterday’s way of marketing. A funny video or a clever ad will catch people’s attention for a few moments, but it won’t create a memorable interaction or a lasting impression. Your audience may engage briefly with this kind of marketing, but then they’ll forget about it and carry on with their day.
Successful brands don’t focus on engagement; they aim for entanglement. You want customers to be so intertwined with your brand that they can’t imagine living without it.
Can you picture waking up tomorrow and discovering that Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook no longer existed? It’s difficult to do. Those brands are deeply embedded in your day-to-day life, and they provide products and services that are indispensable to you.
A study from researchers at Northwestern University and Seattle University found that brands connect more effectively with consumers when they create meaningful experiences that appeal to their personal goals and values.
How do you establish this type of connection with your customers? Start by changing the way you communicate with them. Are you just trying to sell to them, or are you genuinely looking for ways to add value to their lives? Incorporate these principles into your marketing strategy, and make entanglement a priority for your brand.
Your marketing efforts shouldn’t be centered on what you want as a brand. They should address what your customers want and need. How are you helping your customers work toward their goals or realize their values? What are they getting from this relationship that they can’t find elsewhere?
Under Armour has demonstrated this in the fitness space by creating a seamless, personalized health experience for its customers. The brand is combining physical athletic wear with digital tools – like the apps MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness – to help people optimize their workouts and diets, track their sleep quality and connect with others online. Under Armour gathers complex individual data and uses it to support customers’ daily activities and overall goals. The company is moving away from marketing to customers, and is instead collaborating with them.
A single sale doesn’t guarantee customer loyalty. But multiple touchpoints over time will start to build a lasting relationship and reinforce customers’ commitment to your brand. You can do this through multiple pathways, from establishing subscription-based systems to forming niche interest communities.
BarkBox is an example of a brand that has invested wisely in building enduring connections with its customers. The BarkBox subscription service delivers monthly themed collections of dog toys and treats, and last year, the company opened its first dog park in Nashville, Tennessee.
BarkPark is designed to provide a delightful experience to its main customers – the dogs – and also to the “human friends” allowed to come along for the ride. While the dogs play off-leash, their owners can relax in comfortable seating areas, drink a cup of coffee and enjoy special events like movie screenings or beer tastings. The dog park experience is yet another way BarkBox is enriching and enhancing the relationship it has with its customers.
Our rapidly changing digital age is constantly reshaping our attitudes toward brands and media, as well as our interactions with the world itself. And the reality is that the novelty of any product or service will fade over time. You need to keep innovating and giving your customers reasons to stick around.
The journey from engagement to entanglement should start with answering the following question: How often in a 24-hour day is your brand entangled in a person’s life? The movement beyond engagement should be a top priority for any business executive.
Posted on Forbes