Monday, January 07, 2008

Engagement: Should We Care?

Engaging people with a brand ...

"These days, the idea of customer engagement is almost as hot as Web 2.0—and almost as controversial. As busy UX professionals, should we invest our time and energy in caring about engagement, or is it just another buzzword? I think we do need to understand customer engagement, so that, at a minimum, we can respond intelligently to questions about it from marketers or executives. We might even glean some useful insights from thinking about engagement. This column aims to cut through the hype and reveal the potential value of engagement.

Defining Engagement

Part of the controversy about engagement is that different people define and think about it in different ways. I’ll explain engagement from two perspectives, and you may encounter others.
A Working Definition

As far as official definitions go, here is the Advertising Research Foundation’s working definition of engagement:

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

What does that mean, exactly? In her article “Cracking the Engagement Code,” Mollie Spillman interprets it as an “indicator of the propensity of a brand message to resonate and connect with a prospect and ultimately drive some kind of meaningful action.” [1] The focus is less on how many people experience the message and more on what the message means to people—especially considering whether the appreciation of meaning leads to an action such as a purchase or a click. In the interactive world, a simple example of designing for engagement is placing an ad in a context where it is likely to have meaning. For instance, a BP ad about the company’s environmental efforts appears on CNN.com beside an article about the environment, shown in Figure 1. Because this BP ad relates to the article’s topic, I was interested in getting more information and clicked the ad to expand it."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]

BP ad on CNN with Environmental Message - Usability, User Interface Design

BP ad on CNN with Environmental Message

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