We’ve been working on several fronts to better understand the value of engagement to business results.  Engagement — a term that has more definitions than you can count — is the underlying driver of most social media tool development, but creating engagement is more often a black art than a science.  (A constant frustration to those of us who are into replication and measuring.)

eMarketer shared some of an interview they did with Brian Cooper, creative director at the digital agency Dare, that looked at how advertising and marketing agencies need to adapt to leverage new tools and opportunities.

Advertising isn’t about  “advertising ideas,” Cooper says, but about developing ideas that can be told in any medium.  And, in the telling, the goal is to create a self-propagating energy.

The ideas we create here are much more about engagement and driving
participation. If you can get participation, you can build a
relationship, and from that you can create advocates for your brand.
And those people will tell other people, and they’ll become engaged.
You create a virtuous circle, which you can speed up and drive with
other advertising channels. You can use any medium to drive that
circle—whether it’s online, TV, press, PR or direct mail, for example.

The thrust of Cooper’s comments is deceptively simple, but devilishly complex.  To make an idea work across multiple platforms, and to drive engagement, you need to have a clear and basic statement about your brand.  It’s not just story telling anymore, as one observer points out.  As Tami McCarthy (yep…my wife) says in a recent post on BuzzCloud:

When you look to your communications experts and ask them, “Do we know
who we are?,” you need to feel confident that they are answering from a
deep understanding of your brand identity and that they aren’t just
rehashing your brand narrative.

That’s a lot more complicated than trying to toss a serving of engagement on a plate full of media-driven story telling.