According to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)

Engagement is turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context.

This assumes apparently that the consumer interacts with an ad’s message in a way that draws on their own personal “emotional / mental experiences” to produce some brand attachment that is likely to, hopefully positively, impact their behaviour – presumably to ultimately lead to a sale.

But before we dig deeper into engagement let’s quickly look at the old AIDA model that so many marketers and advertisers seem to live by:

AIDA rule assumes that the sequence of communication begins with grabbing the consumer’s Attention, giving reasons to stimulate their interest, forming Desire, leading to… Action (i.e. the sale).

Well it’s wrong.

Dr Plummer backs up what I have long FELT and talked about (when ever anyone cared to listen, which is rare but increasing)

Plummer says that consumers Feel, then Think, then Do NOT Think, then feel then do. IMPORTANT.

In this “new” model, the ad’s job (and therefore the marketer’s?) is not to splurge fact-based features and benefits….

“Storytelling is more powerful than argumentation,” Plummer states.

What seems clearer and clearer is that consumers emotionally engage based on a series of inputs which includes ads but many other things too.

This leads, me anyway, almost full circle to my current fave subject of content strategy (for ads, websites, PR, whatever) and the fact that if you want to create emotionally engaging content which leads to positive brand feelings, referrals and MAYBE sales then you need to start thinking about the desires of your target auidences much more than the features of your product.

I will say it again.

It’s not about you and your product it is about people and their desires.

Have a nice weekend. I am going hunting for the last elusive mushrooms…

PS Gerald Zaltman, from Harvard University’s Mind, Brain and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative, apparently has studied and shown results of this sub-conscious process of brand and ad engagement… fascinating stuff….I wanna see it.

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