Brand Engagement: Occupying Precious Space in Limited Circles


Occupying Precious Space in Limited Circles

Welcome to our July issue! Recently we’ve been discussing key content marketing principles that when properly applied will serve to elevate your brand. As a brief overview, the emphasis has been on the power of the customer experience, and harnessing that by providing valuable content that establishes your credibility and sets the stage for further engagement.

Now more than ever, particularly with social media being the darling in the modern group of “Platform Power Players” utilized for marketing purposes, it’s important to actually connect with your audience, especially on an emotional level, and to do so in a way that allows for discourse between the two of you that will help to build a strong relationship over an extended period of time. This is ultimately what will set you apart from your competitors in what’s become an all-around competitive marketplace for most businesses. As nationally-renown marketing mind Jillian Falconi put it in one of her recent webinars, “If you’re not an experience, you’re not a brand.”

To fully grasp the potential impact of sharing unique content as a part of your promotional efforts (and the relationships you’ll be building in the process), there’s an interesting concept related to anthropology that’s quite eye-opening: The Dunbar Number (also known as the Monkey Sphere).

In an article sourced from Target Marketing, Thorin McGee explains the relevance of this principle to marketing.

“Robin Dunbar was an anthropologist who studied primates. He found that social group size corresponded to the species’ brain size. Each species could only handle so many social connections. Beyond that number, the rest of the primates ceased to be seen as discrete individuals. Everyone who didn’t fit inside that limited social sphere was just a monkey.

Using the same ratios, Dunbar figured that the average human’s personal social sphere — the people who you know by name, know how they connect with the other people in your sphere, and that you have ongoing social relationship with — is limited to about 150 people.
The thing is, brands are monkeys too. There are the ones you identify with and talk about inside your sphere, and the rest are just monkeys.

The problem with being just a monkey today is when people build their online communities and media bubbles, the monkeys don’t get in. And you can’t buy your way in with more ads.

The only way to be more than a monkey is to create experiences that make personal connections with the people in your audience.”

Indeed, we’re all being overwhelmed with so many messages that most of them pass in front of us unnoticed (or are blocked altogether), or if we do briefly acknowledge them, they are either intentionally avoided as an annoyance or simply aren’t retained for recall at the perfect moment when they would have an impact on our behavior. It’s all-too-easy with people’s attention diffused across more touchpoints and devices to float right by without a passing glance if you’re not attracting awareness to the defining qualities that set you apart from the pack in a way that’s not intrusive or off-putting.

Thus, in order to maximize your investment of time and effort along with what you’re actually spending on your campaign, it’s far more beneficial to set your sights on how you’ll accomplish the task of creating and distributing unique content with substance and value that positions you as the expert in your field–and as such, a key resource that is deserving of a coveted spot in the circle. Scaling your approach to connect on a personal level with such a large population can indeed be challenging, but many platforms have evolved to take this into account, and the print world is no exception; in fact, it’s long been the rule and there are a wealth of statistics readily available that prove it remains just as influential today (if not more so as online competition continues to intensify).

And finally, as lasting relationships are those that are mutually beneficial, you’ll not only want to consider the best ways to get inside each person’s circle, but conversely, how to keep them all from becoming just monkeys to you. Earning your status as a trusted insider isn’t just about driving business and increasing profits; as many of us in the business world can attest, it’s the relationships that are oftentimes the most rewarding of all.

To learn more about how Strictly Business can help you, contact me directly at (402) 466-3330 or visit

Click this link to see all of the staff letters and marketing advice from Paige Zutavern!