Consumers Don’t Necessarily Want To Engage With Your Brand

Brand engagement is treated as the holy grail for marketers. Marketers sometimes operate as if consumers are just waiting around to have a relationship with their brand.

This cartoon was partly inspired by a story Jimmy Fallon shared in an NPR interview:

“I bought a pack of gum, and the receipt, I’m not kidding, was over a foot long. It might have been two-feet long of receipt paper, and I’m walking, and you could hear it. You could hear me as I’m walking around the store with this receipt. I go: I bought a pack of gum. This is insane. You’re killing the rainforest for my Orbits. And it was just the most insane thing ever. I go, come on. And there was like coupons on the back. I go: This has just reached a level of insanity.”

Marketers often forget that consumers aren’t into our brands with the same level of the enthusiasm that we are. Whether it’s the frequency brands share in social media or the number of loyalty emails brands send to “advocates,” marketers need to balance our activities with a real understanding of the role that brands play in consumers’ lives.

I stumbled across HBR article from 2012 on the “Three Myths About What Customers Want.” It features a CEB research study questioning whether most consumers want to have a relationship with your brand:

“Actually, they don’t Only 23% of the consumers in our study said they have a relationship with a brand. In the typical consumer’s view of the world, relationships are reserved for friends, family and colleagues. That’s why, when you ask the 77% of consumers who don’t have relationships with brands to explain why, you get comments like “It’s just a brand, not a member of my family…

“Stop bombarding consumers who don’t want a relationship with your attempts to build one through endless emails or complex loyalty programs.”

The study goes on to debunk myths that “Interactions build relationships” and “the more interaction the better.”

Sometimes a pack of gum is just a pack of gum. I’d love to hear your thoughts on brand engagement.

(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)

Here’s another cartoon I drew on this topic:

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