Consumer Involvement is a measure of how deeply consumers interact with brands across the full "involvement journey" (touch-point), from discovery and conversation, to point of influence, brand entry, purchase, usage and, finally, exit.
Involvement Frequency is the measure of how often consumers interact with a brand, from a simple McCormick recipe download to researching styles for thinning hair on Rogaine to disposing of a Pepsi bottle. Consumer Involvement works day-to-day, but changes with the seasons, the annual cadence and critical "life transition points."
Most critically, consumer involvement can be the strongest driver of brand loyalty. Understanding involvement insights can transform short and long-term innovation programs while "involved consumers" can proactively shape the innovation program.
Brand involvement has been on the increase in recent years; enabled by the Internet. Pioneer brands like Google, Mini and Kaplan have shifted to frequent, often day-to-day consumer interaction with the brand.
Brands like Toyota have instituted multi-pronged strategies to increase involvement, from Venza's campaign for dog owners, to Toyota's new global consumer innovation forums and conversations, innovative brands are using Involvement to deepen the brand experience.
The Tipping Point: Brands Struggling With Changed Consumers
But now with consumers under tremendous economic pressure, and their behaviors dramatically shifting, most companies are floundering to interpret unprecedented shifts in "involvement frequency."
From shopping trip consolidation to pre-researching Internet-based information to the seamless integration of product and entertainment that deepen the brand experience, consumers have reached an "involvement frequency" tipping point. Meanwhile marketers are at last making the connection between involvement and dynamically driving and managing consumer loyalty.
As we hit economic "bottom" in Q2, driving "involvement" and understanding its link to "loyalty" has become critical for marketers. Brands that continue to push for greater "involvement" will in the short- term be better positioned to test their "fan base" via direct response, and subtle promotions.
But, more importantly, they will be well positioned to take the deeper insights to drive toward more meaningful long-term innovation that will create richer brand experience and cement loyalty.
Some tips for shifting the emphasis to involvement:
1. Start measuring Involvement and Involvement Frequency across the consumer journey.
2. Understand at an insights level how Involvement converts to true loyalty.
3. Use your involvement insights to create deeper brand experience: day- to-day, across the cadence of the months, and through key "life transition points."
4. Understand the difference between your Heavies and your Super Heavies fan base.
5. Create a direct response model for your Super Heavies, e.g. at the panel or community level, or loyalty program level.
6. Use your involved "fan base" to innovate for the long-term, Innovators get inspired by deep consumer involvement!