There's a fascinating feature by @emilydugan in this weekend's @Independent On Sunday that I really felt should resonate with those charged with Brand Engagement - most especially in Social Media. It's great to see that, in terms of "Soft Power" influence Britain is now officially the "most powerful nation on earth", and when reading through the parameters and criteria upon which these things are judged it occurs to me that every brand looking to properly engage with it's public could do well to take these factors on board.
"For the first time, Britain has beaten the US to the top spot in an annual survey of global soft power. Coined by a Harvard academic in 1990, the term describes how countries use attraction and persuasion, rather than coercion or payment, to change behaviour."
It is this exact aspect of soft power that seems to deliver the clearest message to brands; stop using sledgehammers to crack nuts. The best way to engage with your audience and to leverage the influence of your "brand advocates" is with attraction and persuasion in a humanistic and organic manner. We at @3bdigital know only too well how a "real world" approach to engagement - even if it's occasionally "off-message" reaps immeasurable rewards over time.
A long term strategy that takes this path, rather than a short term coercive campaign, will in my opinion always deliver the most effective and satisfying return on your investment.