The buzz word of the year – Brand Advocacy!
Many years ago, buying a commodity took a certain amount of brainstorming. “Which biscuit brand do I buy? This says whole-wheat but that has low cholesterol. With so many brands to choose from, it becomes a big dilemma for a consumer.
So, we turn to the ‘Know-It-All Aunty’ who seems to have an answer for everything and you can’t help but listen to her because she really does know everything.
Things haven’t changed much now, even in the digital era. Somehow, we always end up going to that one person to ask for their opinion. Let’s say there’s a new brand in the market and you don’t know if it’s worth spending on. But your friend claims that it works and all your doubts just fly out the window. This is brand advocacy on a small scale. But take a peek into the world of Social Media and you will discover a whole new world of brand advocacy at a much deeper level.
So, what is brand advocacy and why is everyone talking about it?
A brand advocate is a happy, loyal customer, who loves a brand and goes out of his way to speak highly about it through word of mouth.
Today, social media is heavily populated by brand ambassadors, micro influencers and brand advocates. While the loyal customers may buy the products regularly, they may not necessarily promote the brand. Then there are brand ambassadors who endorse products, but they are unlikely to use most of the brands. Micro influencers fall somewhere in between brand ambassadors and loyal customers. But in the current social scenario, brand advocates make all the difference – they will not only buy your product, but will advertise it in a way no Social Media campaign can! Think of brand advocates as live, walking- talking advertisements.
How does brand advocacy work?
A brand advocates uses their social influence to create visibility, awareness and engage their followers by talking about their favorite brands on their page or channel online. This is a more refined method of ‘word of mouth’ advertising. Brand advocates share their positive experiences with friends, colleagues and strangers and influence them. They promote brand content and engage with the brand in the social space. Since they do not have any vested interest, the followers tend to believe the brand advocates and take their word for it. Brand advocates influence new buyers into trying out the brand by sharing positive reviews and experiences.
The Bond Between Brands and Customers
With the way social media has evolved in the last decade, brands have realised that they have to build an engaging community on social mediums to tap into existing markets. Brand advocates can’t be bought, but they can be kept happy. Brands try to keep them active by coming up with new and engaging ways like loyalty programs, educational content, VIP treatment, surprises, fun activities and making them feel valued. This creates a strong emotional bond between the brand and the consumer, who now makes the brand a part of his life.
Why brand advocacy works?
A brand has to win the hearts of its customers by exceeding expectations. By making a customer feel special over time, a loyal customer could turn into a Brand Advocate. This Brand Advocate is a customer for life who indirectly becomes a brand’s sales force! Brand advocates promote their favourite brands for the love of it. Endorsement from a happy customer of a brand makes a credible impact in the social circles and supercharges the brand’s popularity. This has caused a new shift where brands are now building their army of brand advocates on the social front. It reduces 100% dependency on marketing and increases the ROI by leaps and bounds. Brands continue to strive to fulfill promises and exceed expectations to gain more brand advocates.
Now you know why brand advocates are becoming a necessity and that gaining new customers on Social Media is not enough. Welcome to the emerging and rapidly growing world of Brand Advocates.
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