The Difference Between Entertainment And Engagement

The Difference Between Entertainment And Engagement

You want viewers to interact with your brand in some positive way, even if it’s just to put some witty thought balloons over the head of that talented feline.

A cat playing a piano? Now that’s entertainment. (Just ask thousands of YouTube viewers.)

A cat playing a piano…with a request for those viewers to send in their best punch lines for this video? With the wittiest user-generated joke possibly resulting in some kind of reward?

Now that’s engagement. You want those viewers to interact with your brand in some positive way, even if it’s just to put some witty thought balloons over the head of that talented feline.

Entertainment gets them in the tent. And yes, entertainment can help with issues such as brand awareness and humanizing a business. People want to do business with people or brands that they like, so humor or another way of stirring the emotions can be important. But engagement is what eventually leads to a sale of a product or service.

Making this distinction and executing on it is easier said than done in these media-rich days. Consumers have more ways of entertaining themselves, and the growth of online video has minted a new generation of YouTube stars—not just piano-playing cats but everyone from guitar prodigies to David and his first trip to the dentist to Rebecca Black and her self-produced (and much ridiculed) “Friday” video.

Companies count the YouTube hits that are racked up for these videos, and immediately try to capture that lightning in their own bottles. But trying to intentionally produce a viral sensation can be as hard as…well, as teaching a cat to play “Chopsticks.”

Engagement is where the action is when it comes to content, whether that content is a video, a Facebook update or a blog post. Give the audience a chance to interact—sharing an opinion, contributing to the message, taking a survey—and you build trust and credibility for the brand.

It’s okay to come up with something you hope is entertaining with your content, so start getting those cats enrolled in music lessons right away. But getting your audience to engage at the same time? That’s worth more than a few smiles when you see the impact it can have on a company’s bottom line.

Photo by bloomua / Shutterstock.com

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency thatmerges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit www.ci-group.com.

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