Clare Bingham, Engagement & Operations Director at FMI Agency
Over the past 16 months our reliance on digital communications has become ever-more apparent and it’s unlikely we will ever go back to visiting clients, customers and even retailers in the way we once did. The way we communicate has changed for good.
But what does this mean for brands who need to continue to sell their products and services? How do they circumnavigate having a reduced field team when they need to build relationships with the people who sell their products?
For over a decade I’ve talked about ‘trade engagement platforms’ and ‘brand engagement programmes’ but what does this really mean? In simple terms, it is a means by which you can connect a brand to people – be that employees or trade partners. At the heart of it is an ‘Engagement Hub’, this could be in the form of a website, mobile app, social media profile or even an intranet, overlaid with effective activities and communications to make it an exciting and vibrant place to be.
What is the benefit of this digital-first approach?
The answer is multi-layered but essentially it is a place from which you can start to build a community. Bringing like-minded, passionate people together to truly connect and understand your brand. You now have a closed (important if you are discussing trade secrets!) programme that can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device. You can start conversations about your products, gain feedback and insight from your audience, and provide training and learning to sellers who in turn can be rewarded for their participation and engagement.
Receiving product training no longer has to be delivered face to face. In fact, sales staff can interact with your brand even more frequently digitally. Watching live product launches, referencing sales tips or engaging with incentive schemes – it’s all still possible with an immobile sales team with a shift to digital first.
I welcome the opportunity to help any brands out there who think they cannot achieve the same engagement levels with their employee and trade audiences as pre-pandemic. Reach out and let’s see how a digital-first approach can help!