Are you looking for free marketing, special perks, and a steady growing base of dedicated customers? No, this is not a dream. Whether you’re looking for free and easy marketing for your start up or current business or you’re a faithful customer of a favorite brand, brand advocacy can benefit both sides of a business relationship. What IS A Brand Advocate? Simply put, a brand advocate is a person or customer that speaks favorably of a specific brand or brand’s product. Brand advocates that discover a brand and choose to endorse it or advertise it on their own would be considered an “organic advocate.” However, if a company decides to hire brand advocates, they would be considered “manufactured advocates.” Paying your advocates may help gain quick buzz around your brand, especially hiring celebrity endorsements, but long term, loyal, and committed brand advocates will usually promote your brand free of charge simply because they enjoy your product and/or service. Types of Brand Advocates
- Brand Activist – Customers who genuinely admire a brand and wish to spread their passion to others. Inviting them to promotional events or offering discounts may help keep their loyalty. Not all activists will participate in event promotions constantly but their love and commitment to a brand will continue their public support.
- Brand Ambassador – Considered the “elite” advocates, brand ambassadors use their special skillsets to promote a brand and are usually paid to do so. They may require certain tools and social media access through the company to fulfill their job.
- Insider Advocates – These are representatives inside a company that actively work to promote the brand. Insider advocates can range from Customer Service Representatives to Public Relations or Marketing Consultants. They are a part of the company and have inside knowledge to how the brand works.
How to Gain Advocates for a Business
- Cultivate nurturing and accessible platforms to engage with your customers (i.e. Social Media, promotional events)
- Engage with your customers and respond to their feedback to your services
- Be thankful and appreciative of advocates’ time and commitment to your brand
- Produce consistent quality service and products
- Be patient, respectful, and nurturing to your customers and make sure not to pressure them into advertising for your company
- Offer discounts or free items to dedicated fans who will review your products to their online following
- Feature their photos or profiles on your website or social media outlet
- Personally invite devoted customers to special promotional events
- Reach out to followers and offer interviews, meetings, exclusives, or connections
How to Become a Brand Advocate for a Business
- Engage With a Brand Online – Following a brand on social media and tagging or mentioning them often enough will attract their attention to your faithful dedication. Brands love to hear feedback on their products, whether you liked them or not!
- Review Their Products/Services – Many companies have forums or platforms to review their business and service, whether on their website, Yelp, Google, or some other form. Leaving reviews will help their other customers as well as earn you some notice and recognition.
- Discover and Target Small Start Up Businesses – Smaller brands are often struggling to maintain a devoted following of customers. They are looking for positive and eager brand advocates helping promote their business.
- Attend a Brand’s Social or Promotional Events – By following a certain brand online, you will be able to stay up to date their special events. These are a great way to meet with employees and leaders of the brand’s company.
Perks of Brand Advocates
For a Brand
- Wider Brand Exposure – As advocates share their passion for your brand, their friends and online following will be more likely to check out your company out of trust of the advocate’s taste.
- Increases in New Customers – Studies have shown that word of mouth brand advocacy produces two times as many sales as paid advertising.
- Customer Loyalty – Consumers who feel that their company appreciates their business tend to buy more products and services.
For the Advocate
- Discounts – Some brands will offer discounts to faithful and successful advocates in place of payment
- Free Stuff – Reward perks and bonuses may be offered in order to try out new products and get reviews or feedbacks
- Networking – Events and business recognition can open the door to meeting with a company’s higher level employees
- Job Offers – Well-attended relationships with a business can also possibly lead to offers of employment
Using a brand advocate is a great way to promote your business and grow a strong consumer-company relationship. Hopefully now you can see how brand advocating is easy, effective, and efficient for your business. Or you can start becoming a brand advocate for your favorite brand or company!
David Mitroff, Ph.D. is a business growth strategist, speaker, and author who founded Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc. (PiedmontAve.com), that creates brand awareness, strengthens customer loyalty and streamlines business processes. David and his team advise clients on leveraging technology for creative initiatives from strategy through implementation.
David inspires individuals and organizations to think differently through his keynote talks on a wide range of topics including Business & Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Branding Management and Innovation.
"THINGS DON'T JUST HAPPEN, YOU HAVE TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LUCK TO OCCUR"