Digital Engagement: internal capabilities vs. external agencies?
In the digital era, the engagement between customers and brands are becoming more sophisticated and we have to distinguish between different levels of brand relationships.
At one extreme, we want a solid relationship with passive consumers that just want a trusted brand provided in the most convenient way at a fair price. At the other extreme, we want a strong and privileged relationship with customers that are engaged in championing the brand as with brands such as Red Bull or Apple.
Customer engagement is the strongest form of a brand relationship and it is expressed through repeat purchase, cross-buying of other products or accessories, word of mouth, active selling, participation at events, co-creation or other means.
Digital technologies are perfectly suited to encourage this engagement and to make it easier for engaged customers to contribute. This definitely requires expertise in a variety of disciplines including for instance web design, SEO, mobile applications, social media, or gamification. The field is so broad and evolving so fast that it is essential to call on specialized agencies, recruit experts, or buy small technological firms with the required capabilities.
But successful adoption requires a certain level of digital awareness and an internal digital culture spread within the firm. We have indeed witnessed an increasing demand from companies to train a critical mass of their managers in this field.
The question for the next post will be: will the age of digital communication destroy conventional brands?