“The Definition of Engagement is turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context.”
More background from the news release:
As the advertising industry grapples with the profound changes in media, marketing and the emerging empowerment of consumers, the concept of engagement has emerged as ‘more of a demand creation’ paradigm than the ‘reach or awareness focused’ paradigm of the past twenty five years. Marketers have identified engagement as a crucial component that underlies consumer brand preference and loyalty especially in response to communications.
“Engagement occurs as a result of a brand idea or media the consumer experiences which leaves a positive brand impression. It is now a critical advertising model to replace GRPs in the 21st century” says Dr. Joseph Plummer, chief research officer for the ARF. “It is important that we think hard about engagement to develop a robust measurement of when consumers are strongly engaged in brands, brand ideas and their surrounding environments.”
At my company, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, we’re extremely interested in this work around Engagement, and we highly respect the leadership of Joe Plummer, the ARF’s Chief Research Officer. We even were among the participating ARF members to present our point of view to the Engagement committee, including how word of mouth and consumer-generated media (consumer buzz) fit into the equation. Here is a summary of our evolving framework:
The relationship between Buzz and Engagement is complex:
- Buzz can be an indicator of engagement
- Buzz can be a form of engagement
- Buzz can be a result of engagement
Three types of Engagement measures can emerge from Buzz:
- Buzz identifies individuals who are engaged
- Buzz indicates the degree of that engagement
- Buzz can predict consumer response, given that engagement
I think Engagement is interesting because if major brand advertisers actually embrace it, it will force them to treat customers and people in completely new ways. Advertisers will have to view them no longer as mass targets to be talked at, but complex individuals with whom they speak with and carry on real relationships.
I also think the ARF’s working definition of engagement will need to do more to account for (or link to) the actual product engagement, not simply the marketing communications or media that surround the brand. Too many of the industry conversations I’ve heard relative to Engagement involve the marketing of crappy, commodity products hawked via mass media. Sure, that’s an important conversation, but more emphasis needs to be placed upstream – with the core product strategy. Are you marketing engaging products to begin with? Or are they average? Or do they suck?