What is a brand advocate? In simple terms, he or she is someone who espouses he values of your brand through choice, with no payment and no financial connection to your company. He or she is trusted by his or her peers. So when he or she chooses to evangelise on behalf of your brand, people listen.
The brand advocate is the ultimate goal of all modern branding. Modern branding is about making people so excited by the things you do that they just have to tell their friends. When they do, the interest you generate is better than the hit rate for any advert or marketing campaign.
From the start, we need to do away with old words (like “campaign”) that make us think in the wrong way. A campaign has direct, measurable results with a core goal – like getting everyone to buy your latest smartphone. Branding is more long term, and has results measured not in units sold but in the raised profile of your whole enterprise.
In a straitened financial universe, companies are understandably obsessed with the immediate retrieval of their bottom line. Understandably but misguidedly. Because real business success is long haul success – and that means accepting gradual increases in interest to build a genuinely loyal advocate base over time, rather than going for a quick hit and walking away.
Without wanting to descend too far into crudity, the analogy that probably fits best is one of relationships. One night – or a lasting marriage? Sometimes by holding back and really getting to know someone, you can develop a relationship that turns into the best thing that ever happened to either of you. If you are able to go slow and take the time to smell the roses, then the end result is one that has more strength and potency than any flash in the pan passion.
A brand advocate is someone who wants to stick with your business as it grows. Someone who gets genuinely excited about new product or service releases – and who will happily tell all of his or her friends about them too. He or she has the tools to go out into the world and create whole new niche markets for you. With the one implement that no amount of advertising or campaigning can every really create: word of mouth.
It’s every advertiser’s dream to have people whispering enthusiastically about a client’s product. When people talk to people, things happen.
Of course there’s a whole world of conversation happening digitally now, all the time. It’s collectively known as the social media, and it is – among other things – the index at which the brand marketing and word of the mouth are able to interact.
Social media can be used to create brand advocacy – but it takes time. Again; you can’t expect a marriage to blossom overnight. Rather, you have to (exactly as you would in a courtship) take the time to listen, to remember and to put the interests of someone else at the forefront of your actions. Do this properly and you may get hitched for life!
Marketer and engineer specialising in IT, tech and engineering companies. I bring new ideas, innovation, passion and clear strategy development with defined ROI, underpinned by 30 + years of experience.
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