What is that one brand that you love so much that you are willing to defend and promote at all costs?
We all have those small or big brands that we constantly want our friends or family to buy from what they need because we love that brand and we think that it will be the best choice for our close ones.
There may be all kinds of reasons that you love a brand.
Maybe it is their quality product, satisfying service, or good-hearted employees that make you have a bond with that brand.
However, we all know how satisfying it is to discover and share with friends or family a brand with a good quality product and service that is provided by the best employees.
Seeing that they are as happy with the brand as you are is actually a satisfying feeling.
If you ever do any of these things for a brand, well, then you are a brand advocate for that business.
What is Brand Advocacy?
As I wanted to explain through examples in the introduction of the article, brand advocacy is customers promoting and advocating for your brand.
Before I begin to explain what brand advocacy is in-depth, I want to clear one thing up:
In another article about customer advocacy, I wanted to put emphasis on the fact that brand advocacy and customer advocacy are different things.
When looking for a brand advocacy definition on the internet, you may come up with articles that actually mistake customer advocacy for brand advocacy.
To put it simply, customer advocates are employees of a brand who look out for the interests of their customers. Unlike brand advocates, they are not customers themselves.
Now let me get back into explaining what brand advocacy is.
Brand advocacy is one of the best ways to promote your business if not the best.
Research by Nielsen shows that 83% of consumers suggest that they trust the recommendations from family and friends when buying things.
Imagine you are out shopping with family or friends and you can’t decide which brand to choose for the same product. You would ask for a recommendation, right?
Now, also imagine that your friend or family member had a great experience buying one of those products and has no idea about the other one.
Which one would you choose?
Well, unless they are untrustworthy people who always want to mess with you, you would choose the one that your friend or family member suggests.
It is common sense, the best way to get to your potential customers is with the help of their family and friends. It is much easier for brand advocates to convince those potential customers.
This has a simple reason apart from the trust that potential customers have towards those brand advocates because they are their close ones:
When people know that, unlike brand ambassadors and influencers, brand advocates do not have a paid relationship with a business. They promote a business because they have seen and made use of the good quality products and services of that business.
They basically want their family and friends to make use of it as well. So, it is for the sake of their loved ones, instead of the money they would get from a business if they had a paid relationship.
It is not only their family and friends that brand advocates promote your business to.
In the age of the internet, word-of-mouth marketing is the most striking way to create awareness and build trust for your business. In this sense, word of mouth is a great amplifier and it becomes the human touch of your business.
By sharing their satisfying experiences on the internet, your brand advocates will also reach those that may have never heard of your brand or those that may have doubts about your brand.
Who is a Brand Advocate?
Now that you know a brand advocate is a customer who advocates and promotes a brand, I can say that anyone can be a brand advocate.
From a three-year-old who boasts about his/her toy and suggests that his/her friend should get one as well to a seventy-year-old who has been satisfied with the brand of his/her eyeglasses, anyone can be considered a brand advocate.
Considering that brand advocacy is not a paid relationship unlike the relationship that brand ambassadors and influencers have with a brand, I can say that the sincerity of brand advocates puts them a step ahead of the other two.
I will not disregard the advantages of working with influencers but I should also say that influencer fatigue is a thing!
Survey suggests that 47% of people are tired of seeing repetitive influencer posts on social media.
At this point, sincerity plays a key role.
Because it is an influencer’s job to promote a brand, they have to produce emotions and ideas about a brand, and since these emotions and ideas are mass-produced for any brand that pays, they do not come from an emotional relationship with the brand.
In this regard, they fall into repetitiveness and lose their sincerity. It is the insincerity of those repetitive promotions that fail to impress people, and therefore fail to encourage them to buy the product of that brand.
Compared to influencers and brand ambassadors, brand advocates do not easily fall into an insincere repetitiveness because they do not have to produce their feelings and ideas for a brand artificially.
They say what they say about a brand because they have had an experience that evokes those ideas and feelings in them.
It is like the feeling you have that you want to share with the others after going to a restaurant and being served the best meal by a very kind waiter that makes you very happy.
Why do you need Brand Advocates
You need brand advocates because they are the living proof that your business is worth buying something from. They show that someone who buys from you can be satisfied and happy.
The experiences that they share can be much more effective than ads or other ways of promotion.
I would like to remind you that feelings and ideas are contagious.
Think about those times when you were not so reluctant to do something but then changed your mind because a friend was really enthusiastic about doing that specific thing.
Or, you can think about those times when you were so excited about something but then were discouraged upon hearing the negative comments about that thing by a friend.
By sharing their experiences with your brand, customer advocates are very convincing when compared to other methods of marketing.
4 Brand Advocacy Strategies You Need to Try
1- Quality Product and Service
First and foremost, let’s accept that it is almost impossible that you have brand advocates if you don’t provide a good quality service or product.
The quality of your product or service decides whether people want to take that first step toward creating a bond with your brand or not.
So, no matter what, you should work as hard as you can to provide the best quality product and service among your competitors.
2- Customer Centricity
Customer centricity is the building block of the road to creating brand advocates for your business. As I said earlier, brand advocacy is not a paid relationship, it is rather a natural bond between customers and businesses.
It is for this reason that you need to show your customers that you truly care about them.
In order to make your customers feel that you care about them, you need to build a customer-centric culture for your business.
A good customer-centric company is one that listens to the feedback of its customers.
This way the customers feel that they have a place in the company and their feelings and ideas are important to the company, which in return builds the bond between the customer and the company.
3- Customer Advocacy
Customer advocacy is a must for a customer-centric company.
When you think that your employees are at the forefront of your business, you can easily understand why customer advocates are a must for showing your customers that you care about their problems, needs, and desires.
When your customers know that there are people in your company who look out for their interests, you build a special bond of trust with them.
That is why having a powerful customer advocacy program is crucial for creating brand advocates.
4- Customer Loyalty Programs
Aside from providing your customers with discounts and other benefits, there is one significant strategy that works so well in creating a brand advocate.
Rewarding your customers for referrals.
When you reward your customers for referring to your brand, they are encouraged to share it with other people and promote your business.
To Wrap It All Up
In this article, I wanted to again emphasize that brand advocacy and customer advocacy are different things.
If you have a good quality product and you can provide a satisfying service with a customer-centric mindset to your customers, it is highly likely that you will have brand advocates promoting your business.
Considering the effect that brand advocates can have on others, you should take the necessary steps to create brand advocates for your business if you haven’t started yet.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find brand advocate opportunities?
Brand advocacy should not be mistaken for customer advocacy or brand ambassadors. Brand advocates are customers who are not paid for what they do. Brand advocates advocate and promote a business voluntarily.
How do you build brand advocacy?
You build brand advocacy by providing your customers with the best possible product and service in the best possible way. When you satisfy your customers by looking out for their interests, they will turn into brand advocates for your business.
Do brand advocates get paid?
No, brand advocates do not get paid. Customer advocates get paid because they are the employees of companies.