Finding Friends

<p style="text-align: justify;">A brand is merely an inanimate object that lies helplessly on a shelf waiting for a consumer to pick it up and try it. It may be the best product in the world, but like a newborn baby, all it can do is cry out for attention.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">How can we breathe life into this inarticulate object so it can grow up and create a civilization around itself where it can live, learn and play; an environment where it can share authentic brand experiences &nbsp;with its friends and fans?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">As marketers, we must use branded engagement to empower brands to come to life and create an unprecedented life form capable of self-sustenance and propagation. As fantastical and implausible as this may sound, any branded content, idea, or concept should set its bar no lower.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Brand Engagements Empowering Branded Content&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Let's take, for example, the branded content idea for Coke Studio. This was an idea that bought Coke to life first in Brazil in 2007, then expanded its family into Pakistan in 2008, and further expanded into India in 2011. Today Coke Studio has burgeoned in many countries around the world and has a loyal fan base the size of a small country.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">As a brand engagement platform, it is a living, breathing entity with a pulse, powered not merely by the Coca-Cola company but by all those who love the music it brings into their lives. Like a friend, when a fan of Coke Studio meets a can of Coke, it is a joyful experience that transcends the mundane act of consuming a soda.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">New Outlook Towards Branded Content</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Suppose we stop looking at branded content as merely a sponsorship opportunity and transform our thinking into seeing it as an opportunity to create authentic brand experiences. In that case, our ideas will be bigger, our reach will be greater, and our commitment to the IP will be stronger.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Think about it.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="">Gitanjali Sriram&nbsp;</a></em></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Gitanjali Sriram&nbsp;</span></h3><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What is a brand engagement strategy?&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">A plan of action that elicits a consumer response and allows consumers to feel like they can engage in a 1-on-1 interaction with the brand is the singular purpose of Brand Engagement. A strategy that ensures that the interaction is genuine and authentic is essential to make it a successful relationship.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. How can social media be used to engage customers?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Social media is the playground for brands. Here is where the brand makes friends and attracts like-minded people to join its journey. It is also a platform that can educate and inspire the brand and must be a critical component in any engagement strategy.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What is branded content strategy?&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Branded content is all about manifesting the brand informally and authentically via a creative medium, be it music, gaming, video, or storytelling, so that followers and fans can truly glimpse into the soul of the brand and feel a sense of connection and commitment. This helps create a tribe of brand loyalists and ambassadors.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. How do you measure brand experience?&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Putting equity measures before any brand engagement campaign is essential to measure the change that happens over the medium term (3-6 months) and long-term (12 months). These measures track brand recall and brand love, as well as a willingness to speak on behalf of the brand.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">5. What are the factors in the brand experience?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Rules of Engagement for a successful brand engagement campaign:</p><ul><li style="text-align: justify;">Be relevant<ul><li style="text-align: justify;">Communication, channel, value, and context are relevant</li></ul></li><li>Generate attraction<ul><li>Consumers believe value exchange is desirable</li><li>The company finds the consumers desirable</li></ul></li><li>Be transparent / generate trust<ul><li>Motives, needs, and desires are explicit</li></ul></li><li>Be authentic<ul><li>Communication is clear, understandable, and natural for each participant</li></ul></li><li>Invite interaction<ul><li>There is a give and take between participants</li><li>Allow customers to share control</li></ul></li><li>Allow co-creation<ul><li>All participants can influence the engagement</li></ul></li><li>Celebrate aesthetics<ul><li>The form of the content and interaction is aesthetically pleasing</li><li>Elicits an emotional response</li></ul></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Gitanjali Sriram

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