In Part-1, the concept of who Brand Advocates are and what makes them so, is discussed. In this part the reasons for, why they have become a new priority for the companies and how a company can enlarge its brand advocates base, are discussed.
Digital Age is the reality which we all have become aware of. McKinsey & Company, in its Global iConsumer Research Report (May, 2011), has classified the consumers, based upon the digital experiences they enjoy and the intensity with which they enjoy, into three groups, as shown in the Figure below.
Digital Media Junkies and Digital Communicators, both have integrated digital media into many areas of their lives, where former are extensive users of all digital platforms while latter focus more on social media and texting.
The second group has a good amount of digital experience but on specific platforms. Video Digerati focus more on the consumption of Videos, on mobiles, computers and televisions. Gamers have single and multi player gaming experiences on various gaming consoles, that is one of the reasons why social media gaming industry is booming. Professionals due to time constraint, spend maximum part of their digital time on emails and specific links (Text or Videos).
The third group, Traditionalists spend most of their time with traditional media (Print, Radio & Television), whereas On the go workers (Blue Collar Workers), use mobiles only for calls and texting. They have very low data consumption, almost zero.
Earlier, after launching a product, the company could have relied solely on its marketing strategy without giving special attention to WOM (Word of Mouth). But since the advent of Digital Media, the world has become interconnected now. WOM spreads like forest fire and has to be given special attention. As more and more people are shifting from the third group to the first and second group, more there is need for a company to not only invent its strategies taking care of all but also monitoring them every single second.
It is where the idea of Brand Advocates becomes a new priority!
(Image Shown Below, Triangle of Trust : Advocacy is super valuable but it can not be bought!)
- Brand Advocates are the Walking Billboards for a company. They create content for the brand, which spreads brand awareness.
- They like to see themselves as friend, family member of the brand, not as an employee. They don’t want even a single penny for the promotion they do.
The biggest reason brand advocates are so powerful is a single, five-letter word: Trust.
~ Rob Fuggetta (Zuberance)
- With the help of the digital media, they can reach a very large audience. They love to share new stories and updates of the brand in their friends’ and social circles. They engage with the brand and keep communication alive. They take part in events and fill feedback forms actively.
- They humanize the brand by propagating the connect they have felt themselves. This helps them in establishing the trust for the brand in the eyes of the prospective consumers.
- They feel delighted while sharing valuable insights of the brand with their friends. It helps them project themselves a reliable source of information.
- They sometimes work as a detractor (Negative Advocate) for the competitor’s brand by pushing their brand as the best choice and highlighting shortcomings of the competitor’s brand.
- They may not be a loyal consumer, but they remain loyal to the brand till the time they feel a sense of connect.
- They are less price sensitive.
Then, what can they do for the brand? Refer Image: Report by Ciceron, Simplify 360.
Now the most interesting part comes, how does a company convert its most satisfied customer into Brand Advocates? How does a company can prepare an army of Brand Advocates?
- The first and foremost requirement is: The product and service level should be of top quality. The customer should have an amazing experience while interacting with the brand. The customer can share the product information with the friends only when there is something creditable to share.
- The Human Connect should be the top priority. The Brand should talk directly to the consumer by addressing all the doubts and queries. If the brand gets successful in absorbing the consumer’s aspirations, the brand can leverage the idea further by becoming a part of consumer’s life through various channels.
- The company should also focus more on the retention of the more loyal customers who are frequently talking about the brand on various digital media platforms. They can be the potential brand advocates.
- There should be no contradiction between the brand tag line (What Brand wants to say) and the customer’s interpretation (What Customer understands). The company should address such issues immediately.
- The company appreciate the idea of employees satisfaction also and encourage them to provide a customized and friendly experience to the customers.
- The brand should appeal to the life-styles of the targeted audience. The digital media can be a boon in this context, as it allows one to one interaction between the company and the customer.
- The Brand Advocates should be given incentives, not money. They are the earned and genuine fans who can not be simply acquired. The company can give them some frequent discounts or can gift them some tickets to the events of some new product launch etc.
- The loyal fans can be featured on the company’s websites or blogs. This helps in strengthening the ties with them further.
- The company can also send them emails or mails on their birthdays or some special occasion so as to make them feel as if they are the part of the family.
Next time, if you are asked to answer: What should your friends go for? KFC or McDonald’s? Apple or Samsung? Coke or Pepsi? Remember, if you have a particular answer or side, every time you are asked the same question, then it means you are a Brand Advocate, rooting for that particular brand.
Think now, what is it that make you care so deeply for that brand?
Watch, Coca-Cola Happiness Machine Video, What did you find that made the video cross 8 Million+ Views? Suppose, If you were one of the students there, getting your bottle of Coke, how would have you felt then? Didn’t it attract you to advocate for the brand which was so concerned about you and your happiness?
~ These questions are themselves the answers!
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