The Myth of Brand Engagement – Debunked

This is in response to a post by Cam Beck over at Marketing Profs. In it, Mr. Beck states that no amount of “brand engagement” is going to make people think more about a brand. Here’s my response:

While I agree that a company’s brand isn’t as important to its audience as it is to the company, I strongly disagree that no amount of “brand engagement” is going to make people think more about a brand.

Let’s start from within.

Did you know, for example, that companies like SAS in North Carolina offer sports facilities, subsidized child-care, early schooling and a primary health-care centre, free to staff. The latter is increasingly being studied by other firms as they struggle to contain the growth of health-care costs. In fact, when Google was planning the Goolplex, they went to SAS for inspiration.

What does this mean?

SAS’s turnover rate is approx. 4% a year, compared with 20% in the software industry as a whole. If that’s not keeping your staff engaged, then what is?

Now let’s look on the outside.

Apple keeps their consumers engaged with products that continue to push our creativity. From the start, when Apple Computers made a PC that was simple to use, their focus was always on the end user: how can we make a better PC? How can we make a person better at being creative? Then Apple Computers made different computers at faster rates and newer designs, things people wanted to display in their homes and/or offices as works of art.

I remember an old employer buying a first generation iMac for the front reception desk so that when clients arrived, they saw it. No one else in the office had one. I call that brand engagement.

Then Apple made the iPod and iTunes. Enough said.

Then came the retail experience, launched at a time when all the “experts” said Steve was crazy to think of going bricks and mortar. That it would never succeed. Guess what?

20% of Apple revunue comes from their retail outlets.

Then came the iPhone. Do I need to say anything else?

What’s interesting to note is how Apple dropped the word computers from their name. They no longer consider themselves a computer brand; they’re an experience brand that continues to engage consumers with more design at more touchpoints.

If that’s not brand engagement then sign me up for fire fighter school because clearly, I’m not getting it.

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1 Response to “The Myth of Brand Engagement – Debunked”


  1. 1 Cam Beck January 10, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Joe – Thank you for your comment and post here… I responded on that thread, but I’ll discuss with you wherever you’d like. :)


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