Normally lucid and very informative, I think Steve Rubel is this time misinformed. Engagement is about connecting to people. I think Steve understands this because he suggests in the Oct 9th issue of AdAge that "marketers who want to see engagement find the right communities, build programs that empower people to connect, then get out of the way". But in the paragraph just prior to his illusive statement, Steve writes, "As marketers, we shouldn’t care about brand engagement."
On the ANA stage at our annual meeting last weekend, AG Lafley said quite clearly that marketers need to put things into the consumers’ hands, then let go. Engagement comes from the letting go part. What marketers should care about is learning how to engage. We marketers have been control freaks for too many years. We need to let go, because only then will the consumer engage in our brand, in the community our brand can create, and with each other with our brand at the center.
Engagement is a great moniker for marketers. They need to learn to invite, welcome, encourage, open up their brands by letting go and allowing their consumers to engage in the way the consumer wants. Then measure how they’re doing so they can do more of the good stuff, and less of the ineffective stuff.
So marketers, listen to Steve when he says ".. to see engagement, find the right communities, build the right programs, then get out of the way." This is the sage advice we expect from Steve.
Also: View some videos and read more on the subject at Engagement by Engagement.