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Harness the Power of Consumers Through Digital Branding and Engagement

If you’re interested in engagement and branding in a digital era, or if your marketing career pre-dates Instagram (or worse, the iPhone), you should take this course. Here’s why.

We live in a digital world. Today, more than 3 billion people are connected to the Internet. With every second that passes there will be another 50,284 Google searches, 2,545 uploads to Instagram and 106,504 videos viewed on YouTube. But, perhaps the biggest shift in consumer behavior since the emergence of social media is that users are now more commonly accessing the internet via a smartphone or tablet than a desktop computer.

Advances in technology have created an ubiquitous Internet, which is changing the way we interact with information and each other. In Australia, around three-quarters of the population own a smartphone ­– on par with the U.S. and UK yet lagging behind Singapore, where the number of smartphone users sits at 90 per cent. And not only is there a high saturation of smartphone users, but high usage; recent research by Telstra reveals Australians check their smartphones an average of 150 times a day. Working synergistically with this smartphone use, social media and social apps have now become increasingly important in how we connect.

So how does this increasing mobility and online social interaction influence the way our customers behave and think, and what does this mean for marketing? To put it simply: people who are ‘plugged in’ 24/7 don’t want to be interrupted by brands and marketing, they want to engage by choice – to be inspired to engage.

A killer marketing strategy gives you wings

Red Bull is one brand that absolutely nails it. The company generates its profits primarily from selling an energy beverage ­– and one that doesn’t always score well in taste tests. Yet as at May 2015, the brand was worth $7.2 billion, with sales up four per cent across 170 countries for the previous year. So what’s their secret?

To quote Marketoonist and frequent keynote speaker on innovation, marketing and creativity, Tom Fishburne, “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” Red Bull’s marketing strategy is so effective because it doesn’t focus on the beverage. Instead, the brand aligns itself with something that fits with the core values of the company’s brand: extreme sports.

By sponsoring extreme athletes, sports and events, and generating global coverage of these events – think Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking 39km skydive from the edge of space in 2012 or Red Bull Racing’s domination of the Formula 1 track from 2010 to 2013 – Red Bull found a way to engage with the values of its energy-drinking target audience without needing to directly promote the drink itself. In short, it turned its audience into an engaged community. In 2015, with a networked community of more than 35 million followers across all their dedicated channels, Red Bull was rated the third most powerful brand in the world.

So how can you harness the power of consumers and community?

5 tips for marketing success

  • Know that there is no ‘digital marketing,’ there is just marketing. Digital marketing is no longer a separate aspect to your marketing strategy; it is an integral element of the whole and must be treated as such.
  • Talk with your customers, not to. Co-create value by engaging with customers to understand what they want from you, not what you want from them. Then, create content that attracts readers, viewers and listeners to your brand.
  • Become an expert in the difference between paid, owned and earned media, and know that they are all key players in the same game.
  • Invest in your brand. Products have a lifecycle, but brands can live forever. Brand equity is the sum of every experience you have with a company. As such, every interaction (as a customer, employee, resource-provider, bystander) has the potential to build equity for your brand, or conversely, reduce equity.
  • Keep up-to-date with changes in the market. And, one of the best ways to do this is upgrading your marketing skills with a four-week MOOC on the subject!

Curtin University’s Digital Branding and Engagement course kicks off November 2. Facilitated by an expert in consumer empowerment and brand authenticity, Associate Professor Sonia Dickinson, the course covers all the points mentioned above. Plus, you will learn how international companies manage a digital brand and discover how different content decisions will drive value – experiences you can then apply in your career.

So invest in your personal brand: take the first step towards an awesome career in digital marketing. Enroll today.