There is nothing more exciting in sales and marketing when the positive relationship between a customer and a brand, results in that customer singing the praises of the brand. This is otherwise known as brand advocacy.
Creating brand advocacy is an essential tool that needs to be fully explored and utilised! You want people to shout about your brand, be proud to own your products and be excited to tell their friends about them.
If a customer is loyal or has a substantial bond to a particular brand they become advocates of that brand. In becoming advocates they recommend, promote and remain loyal customers. This relationship can last a lifetime and can encourage others to do the same via consumer recommendations, especially with the new age of online reviews and social media.
So what does it take to turn followers of your brand into advocates?
Ultimately it’s a personal thing and it takes people to make it work.
Here are a few ways to create and maintain brand advocacy;
- Build the relationship between brand and customer – brand advocacy isn’t necessarily ‘love at first sight’! It’s built on a high quality product, excellent customer service and an enjoyable shopping/purchasing experience. To truly be advocates, customers need to have an experience that stands out.
- Listen to the voice of your customer. The best way to entice brand loyalty is to offer what the consumer wants. Do they want technical expertise? Do they want excellent customer service? Do they want value for money? The more you listen, the more you can give them what they want. Encourage customers to give feedback, review the product and/or experience and learn from the results.
- Know your product. If you are knowledgeable about the product the customer will have more confidence in you and your product. Make sure you know when the product was created/how it came about/it’s purpose. It helps the brand story.
- Appreciate your customers and thank them often. It’s never too early to start this important step. If a customer feels valued they’re more likely to return.
- Make sure your employees support and promote the product. If they wouldn’t buy it why should your customers? Get them to shout about it on facebook/twitter, recommend it to their friends. If they’re not prepared to, find out why and listen.
- Change and innovation – customers, even loyal ones, won’t want to be sold the same product day in day out. You need to make sure you’re always improving/changing. Keep your advocates interested and excited about the product.
- Social media – we discussed social media in our last blog. It is an essential tool in today’s world. Use it; it’s a great way for consumers to give feedback, for you to keep engaged and gives customers up to date information first. Make sure it’s updated regularly whether it is through your own social media pages or your own blog. Customer’s love sharing their experiences and social media is an ideal place for them to do so.
Brand advocacy is not an overnight success, it takes training and dedication from all those in the. More than anything recognise the value of relationships because real brand advocacy cannot be built without them.