We asked Brand Marketing specialist Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies for her top tips on building brand engagement:

Today, a customer’s choices are extensive – whatever their needs. Building brand engagement first-hand with customers is vital for businesses and brands to grow.

Building brand engagement isn’t the same as building brand reputation. The latter will happen as a result of anything you say and do as a business (good or bad). To build brand engagement, businesses need to put their customer at the heart of everything they do to have a chance of nurturing their custom and loyalty long term.

5 steps to building brand engagement

1. People buy people

It’s a bit of a cliche these days, I know, yet it’s truer now than ever. The internet enables us to buy anything from anyone, anywhere in the world. So why should I choose you and your business to buy from today?
The requirement for brands to humanise themselves has heightened with the explosion of digitisation, further enhanced by the physical restrictions of the pandemic. It isn’t always easy to put yourself or your team front and centre but weaving them and what they do for your customers into your brand storytelling is step one.

2. Talk to your customers’ needs
Finding ways to communicate with your ideal and existing customers that resonate with their needs and desires, and in a language that they understand, is step two.
Park your internal jargon in your desk drawer and focus your customer communications around a vernacular that they use to refer to their challenges and desires. If you spend time listening to what your customers say, this will help build your own customer dictionary to playback to them when promoting what you do.

3. People like me
Most people identify their needs with others facing similar challenges. The simplest way to show your target customer that you meet their needs is by demonstrating how you’ve helped others like them.
Customer case studies and testimonials can be hugely powerful if done authentically. We see actors deliver these lines in TV advertisements all the time, but if you can capture even just the written words of a grateful customer and make use of those across your marketing platforms, you’ll be on your way to achieving step three.

4. Be present
You have to be present to build brand engagement, for example:

  • Make it easy to call your customer care team – no long-winded or maze-like auto-greetings
  • Have a real person on the end of your website chatbox – no bots, thank you
  • Respond to queries on social media promptly – or tell people how else to reach you if you can’t support this
  • Invest time in the platforms where your customers hang out online and where you have a brand presence – building brand engagement won’t happen unless you engage with people online – make a point of striking up a conversation or responding to their activity too

5. Tell a good story
Engage people with what you do and how you help them by telling them the story of your business. Choose the right marketing channels – those that will reach them – and get talking. You may choose a particular social media channel, a regular email newsletter, helpful articles on your blog, or news updates covered by the media. Some examples might include…

  • A day in the life of a travel agent
  • Behind the scenes of wedding reception preparations
  • What our customers say about us
  • Did you know…
  • Meet our newest team member…
  • We’re planning these events for our customers, who do you know who might be interested in attending…
  • This year we’ve helped X people solve their…
  • Our charity of choice for this year is… because…
  • Our office book club is currently reading… What’s on your reading list
  • To offset our company’s carbon footprint we’re…

Building brand engagement is all about human connection and investing time in connecting with and nurturing the community that naturally breeds around your business. It isn’t rocket science, anyone can do it, but it does take time and thought to do it well.

If you’d like to find out more about building brand engagement for your business, you can find Kate on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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