Rise of BRAND ADVOCATES to BRAND EVANGELISTS

“Find one customer that believes in your brand and you’ll not only find other customers but also discover opportunities to continue scaling and growing your business.” 

One of the most important outcomes of this digital transformation is the rise of a new and very powerful customer-the Advocate.

Brand Advocates are those highly satisfied customers who go out of their way to actively promote the products they love and care about. They write about your brand and share it with personal, social and business networks. The brands obviously need them on their side, because they have a disproportionate impact on persuading others to engage with and believe in the brand.

Some examples of brand advocates:

  • Kinokuniya Bookstore, Dubai’s- “mommy bloggers”
  • Porsche’s Customer Advocates
  • Community support systems: Dell, BestBuy, Fiskars’ crafting site Fiskateer

According to the 2015 Loyalty Report 360,– 16% to 20% of the total customer base of an organisation ,those are the brand believers and supporters, and in that role, they influence the remaining 80 to 84% of the other customers.

With a globe gone digital and the power of social media, they have a platform to make their point of view known to everyone. Advocates have become incredibly valuable assets.

Marketing power of Evangelists of Brands

Brand Evangelists are those who spread their beliefs about a brand due to a previous positive experience with the brand. Having customers becoming cheerleaders for the brand is the very essence of marketing the brand. The customers not only sell for the company, but they communicate in a way far more powerful than any content the brand has created.

Average Net Promoter Score

Average Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an alternative measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty, and is used to determine how likely your customers are to recommend and promote your company.

The average NPS score is computed by taking the average percentage of people who give a score of 9 or 10 out of 10 (the promoters) and subtracting the percentage of people who gives a score of 6 or below (the detractors). Crucially, those giving a score of 7 or 8 are ignored (the passives).

  • A high NPS correlates strongly with future growth.
  • Tracking the NPS is important to determine trends in loyalty (a high NPS is an indicator of loyalty).

 

Getting the word out through customer endorsements is a prerequisite for brand success today.

Chris Maloney, Marketing Strategist, from his theory innovation diffusion, he states that “once you reach 16% adoption rate for any innovation”. It’s time to change the messaging strategy companies focussing needs to shift from the one -scarcity needs to the one based on social proof . In this scenario, Advocates play a critical role in moving brands into new customer territories.

Increasingly a brand’s values and vision plays an integral part in creating a relationship. Customer Advocacy is a function that focuses on the customer, not an individual department, organization or division of a company. Many companies are recognizing the importance of “customer centricity” and the implied customer focus and are thus choosing to implement a Customer Advocacy role. In this customer centric context, it reminds me of how throwing a stone into a pond creates ripples that move outward in increasing circles from the centre to the pond’s edge. Exchanging the stone for a brand Advocate’s positive post or recommendation, we will get an idea of how digital word of mouth works in today’s connected world and how advocates messaging accelerates the brand across the chasm.

Because today’s customers behave quite differently from those in the past, winning them and persuading them to become Advocates can be more challenging. Customers have changed from being passive to being active and engaged. Advocates exist on a level above that. It takes time and disciplined series of interactions to build the right conditions for customer engagement.

How to enable Advocacy & Evangelism by brands?

  1. Awareness: The starting point is always awareness. What do customers know about the brand and what the brand stands for? What are they saying to each other? Do they visit your website? How many page views? What is the visit duration? What do customer interest levels suggest?
  1. Engagement: Beyond awareness, are customers interacting with your brand, signing up for experiential events, registering with contact information, following social media feeds, and so on?

3

  1. Attachment:Have customers strengthened their relationship and interacted with the brand by posting, blogging, and commenting/responding about the brand?
  1. Advocate/Evangelist:The last stage is when they become Brand Advocates and turn to evangelists where they are actively recommending brand to the friends, sending links, posting on social media, or participating in the brand user community.

Taking the case of GoPro, it sells video cameras that can be mounted to capture most activities (think a camera on a helmet when you are skydiving.)It provides a place for customers to share their most enthralling moments, but it’s a great way for potential users to see the products in action. Brands now more than ever need to listen, moderate and engage with their community in order to reach the ultimate goal – turning customers into brand advocates. An online community is ideal for a brand advocacy platform because of the ability to engage customers at every level of their journey. This helps brands to identify and promote their most loyal customers, and then turn them into brand advocates and evangelists. Hence brands should build a strong Brand community through online platform that they can control and manage.

Creating superior brand experiences is about helping your customer’s feel something they can’t touch. It’s emotion. It’s intellect. It’s heart and its mind. It’s art and it’s science. It’s more about a commitment to prioritizing and architecting the best brand experience you possibly can all based on what the customer needs. The tracking & personalizing advocacy efforts (giving customers easy access to profiles and providing notification of opportunities fitting their interests), will encourage them in participating with feedback.

As a brand you need to find, track and reward the most passionate and vocal customers and ultimately transform them into brand evangelists. This encourages participation at every level, streamlining engagement and feedback and tracking those essential activities using the right system.

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