Influencers Versus Brand Advocates: Which One is Better?

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Influence and Advocacy is a topic I have a great interest in.
So does just about every agency, brand owner – and individual who is active online.


Influence is seen as a key tool that brand owners need to tap into.
It is supposed to ensure that they get their brand messages out to people online through social media. They are hoping that they will get recommendations, and so sales as a result.

This is not a surprise: Consumers really trust recommendations.
As I covered in “Why are Peer Recommendations Absolutely Critical for Marketing Success“, consumers trust recommendations from people they trust over ALL types and forms of paid for advertising. 92% say they rely on recommendations when making product choices from people they know. Even 70% say online reviews are important in their choice.

You need to know your “Influencers” versus your “Advocates”
You need to be clear about what a difference that an “Advocate” can make to your business, and why they are better than an “Influencer”. There is too much focus on “Influencers”, in my view.
I outlined the key differences in them in my article entitled “Influencers versus Advocate: Which is more Important for your Brand?“.
In that I argued that Advocates are much more important for your business. They love your brand, and will actively promote, recommend and defend it as well – with little incentive or self interest agenda.

Infographic Explaining “Influencers Vs. Advocates”
I was, therefore, impressed with the Infographic that Zuberance (an agency specialising in the topic) and Convince & Convert (Social Media Consultancy) developed. It lays out the case, with data, on the difference and has the same conclusion. Advocates will drive more action for your brand. They are keen to support, promote and even defend your brand. With limited added incentives.

1 COMMENT

  1. Gary –

    Having co-devised the original customer advocacy research framework over ten years ago while at GfK, and continuing to improve it at Harris Interactive and now at Market Probe, I can absolutely affirm that advocacy behavior is considerably more powerful, i.e. more actionable in driving business outcomes, than influence. It is also more powerful than recommendation, brand favorability, or word-of mouth alone. Here are three, of many, CustomerThink articles which make the case:

    http://www.customerthink.com/article/customer_advocacy_behavior_personal_brand_connection

    http://www.customerthink.com/article/marketing_case_customer_advocacy_measurement

    http://www.customerthink.com/article/negative_word_of_mouth_customer_alienation_and_sabotage

    We have also looked at the differences between B2B and B2C customer advocacy, the impact of corporate image and reptuation on customer advocacy, the leveraging effect of employee ambassadors on customer advocacy behavior, how branded experiences affect advocacy, etc.

    Our organization is now making further advances in both customer advocacy and brand passion research by creating a new framework which links them. The results we are seeing are stronger than advocacy or brand passion alone, and dramatically stronger (in terms of business outcomes). This is extremely important for the marketing and service programs of many B2B and B2C companies.

    Incidentally, if you haven’t read my 2011 book on customer advocacy – The Customer Advocate and The Customer Saboteur – now in its second worldwide printing, I’d encourage you to add it to your reference list:
    http://asq.org/quality-press/display-item/index.html?item=H1410

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