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Brand loyalty · 

8 minutes

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

Brand Advocacy: Why You Need It & How to Get It

What is a Brand Advocate?

A brand advocate is a person who actively promotes and supports a brand, product, or service through word-of-mouth marketing, online reviews, and social media sharing. They can be either employees or customers who genuinely believe in the brand and willingly share their positive experiences with others.

Employee Brand Advocacy

Employee brand advocacy refers to the practice of encouraging employees to advocate for the company by actively promoting its products or services, both online and offline. This contributes to employee-based brand equity, where employees' positive experiences and advocacy efforts enhance the overall perception of the brand.

Customer Brand Advocacy

Customer brand advocacy occurs when satisfied customers share their positive experiences with a brand, product, or service, influencing the purchasing decisions of potential customers. This form of advocacy is powerful, as consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than traditional advertising.

10 Facts About Brand Advocacy

Benefits of Brand Advocacy

Brand advocacy offers numerous benefits, including increased brand awareness, higher customer trust, and improved customer loyalty. Advocates also help generate more cost-effective, authentic, and impactful marketing efforts through user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing.

How to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates

Offer Exceptional Customer Service

Deliver outstanding customer service to create memorable experiences that inspire customers to share their positive experiences with others.

Encourage User-Generated Content

Incentivize customers to create and share user-generated content featuring your products or services, providing social proof and increasing brand visibility.

Engage with Customers on Social Media

Interact with customers on social media platforms, responding to comments and messages promptly to foster a strong community around your brand.

Create a Loyalty Program

Implement a loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat purchases, referrals, and social media engagement, motivating them to continue supporting your brand.

Showcase Customer Testimonials

Feature customer testimonials on your website and marketing materials, giving potential customers an insight into the positive experiences of your current customers.

How to Measure Brand Advocacy

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): The NPS measures customer satisfaction and the likelihood they will recommend your brand to others.

  • Social Media Mentions: Track the number of times your brand is mentioned on social media platforms. Analyze the sentiment of these mentions to gauge the feeling about your brand.

  • Online Reviews: Monitor online reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp to gauge customer satisfaction and advocacy. Responding to reviews is also important, whether they're positive reviews or negative.

  • Referral Rates: Assess the number of new customers acquired through referrals from existing customers. Launching an official brand advocacy program will accelerate your growth and develop organic brand ambassadors in your customer base.

  • User-Generated Content: Measure the quantity and quality of user-generated content featuring your brand. Sharing content and collaborating on it will boost customer engagement and get people talking about your brand.

5 Examples of Brand Advocacy

  • Apple: Apple has a loyal customer base that consistently advocates for its products through social media sharing, online reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations.

  • Lululemon: Lululemon's customers often become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences with the company's athletic apparel and participating in community events.

  • Tesla: Tesla owners are known for their passion and advocacy for the brand, actively promoting the company's electric vehicles and mission.

  • LEGO: LEGO enthusiasts, or "AFOLs" (Adult Fans of LEGO), often share their love for the brand by creating and sharing intricate LEGO builds online and participating in LEGO communities.

  • Zappos: Zappos has built a reputation for exceptional customer service, which has turned many customers into brand advocates who share their positive experiences with others.

Using Brand Loyalty Programs to Increase Brand Ambassadors

A brand loyalty program can be an effective strategy to increase the number of brand ambassadors among your customer base. By offering incentives and fostering a sense of community, businesses can encourage customers to become advocates for their brand. In this section, we'll discuss how referrals, brand communities, and more can help transform loyal customers into brand ambassadors.

Referral Programs

Referral programs reward existing customers for recommending your brand to their friends, family, and colleagues. These programs motivate customers to spread the word about you, which helps you acquire new customers through trusted recommendations. Not to mention, it drives down customer acquisition costs.

According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any other form of advertising. Data suggests that referral programs are an effective way to create brand ambassadors.

Brand Communities

Creating a brand community can encourage customers to engage with one another and share their experiences with your brand. Fostering a sense of belonging and providing a platform for customers to interact can turn customers into brand ambassadors who actively promote your brand.

For example, Harley-Davidson has built a strong community of brand ambassadors through its Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.). This community brings together motorcycle enthusiasts to participate in events, share stories, and celebrate their love for the brand.

Exclusive Rewards and Benefits

Offering exclusive rewards and benefits to loyal customers can motivate them to become brand ambassadors. These perks may include discounts, early access to new products, or invitations to exclusive events. By providing added value to your most loyal customers, you encourage them to share their enthusiasm for your brand with others.

For instance, Sephora has successfully turned customers into brand ambassadors through its Beauty Insider program. They offer personalized recommendations, exclusive product launches, and special events for its members.

User-Generated Content Contests

Encourage customers to create and share user-generated content (UGC) featuring your products or services through contests and giveaways. By offering prizes or rewards for the best UGC, you can incentivize customers to share their experiences with your brand, generating buzz and attracting new customers. According to a Stackla report, UGC is 50% more trusted by consumers than traditional media, making it a powerful tool for turning customers into brand ambassadors.

Social Media Engagement

Engaging with your customers on social media can help transform them into brand ambassadors. Respond to comments, share user-generated content, and show appreciation for your customers' support. By fostering a genuine connection with your customers online, you can encourage them to share their positive experiences.

Posts like this on social media platforms will increase your brand's visibility and credibility. For example, JetBlue has excelled at turning customers into brand ambassadors through its responsive and personable social media presence.

In summary, implementing a brand loyalty program that includes referral programs, brand communities, exclusive rewards, user-generated content, and social media engagement can significantly increase the number of brand ambassadors in your customer base. By fostering loyalty and advocacy among your customers, you can amplify your marketing efforts, attract new customers, and drive long-term growth for your business.

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