The index explored.
What does it all mean?
The index Brægen created provides a spectrum of ‘engagement’ from broadcasting to letting go of the reins where the organisation becomes the platform and fully embraces the messy art of co-creation. Where videos and images created by people tell its story. This should not be seen as binary - either or - rather engagement is fluid and flows between all proposed levels. It’s about readdressing an imbalance of too much emphasis on broadcasting and shouting and less time spent engaging, consulting and embracing emergence.
This is about communicating as the product or service deliverer. This category identifies communications to external audiences as purely message push with that brand either providing information or broadcasting a message to promote a product or service. There is no evidence the organisation is trying to hold a conversation or prompt a response from fans & followers.
Communications or engagement in this category belongs to behavioural change. This is about subtly influencing your target audiences to change or shift a particular behaviour to a desired state.
Brands have also started using ‘nudging’ in their advertising and marketing communication. This is a more subtle type of broadcast communication where the organisation holds a ‘we know best’ attitude, diagnosing the problem and subtly trying to nudge its target groups towards adopting a behaviour.
Dialogic engagement is starting to appear. Brands are having a series of conversations on a topic, service or a product it is responsible for. This is done on a light touch basis and largely superficial such as ‘how do you like to eat your ___?’ Generally, competitions would fall within this category. Brands are still driving rather than co-creating these conversations.
External call to stimulate ideas
While the brand remains in the driving seat, there is clear evidence that it wants to engage externally to stimulate ideas to assist in the way they deliver a product or a service. For example, a call to help the organisation shape its next flavoured product or service. This has to go beyond statutory consultations where the organisation would be required by law to engage. Communication within this category is genuinely inviting its target audiences to stimulate ideas to help it shape a strategy, a product or a service.
Co-creating brand stories
This falls squarely in the dialogic sphere where we see more genuine engagement, with storytelling strategies becoming more nuanced than simply creating bite-sized broadcasts. This is no longer simply hovering around social media sites tweeting, posting and responding, instead, there is evidence the organisation is starting to concede storytelling power. This becomes less about driving the conversations and more about sharing the spotlight with their audiences, letting the consumers become lead characters in the brand’s stories where conversations are co-created in real time alongside the publics.
This is the truly dialogic space, where emergent issues come to the fore. Controlling storytelling is no longer possible with the organisation offering and enabling a platform for raconteurs where it will be essential to embrace the messy art of stories and live video. Providing a platform is for those organisations that are unafraid to integrate their publics into the heart of their communications strategies