- Brand Advocates will be more important in driving your brand as they have passion and will be evangelical about it. Usually without you actually having to incentivize them to do so, unlike with Influencers. They will do it because they love your brand, and want to spread the word to others.
- An ADVOCATE may be an INFLUENCER, but not all INFLUENCERS are ADVOCATES!
What is the difference between an INFLUENCER and an ADVOCATE?
- So, Influencers are important to a brand in getting a short-term message about the brand, perhaps when there is a new product or other news as they can get the message out fast and to a wide audience.
- So, Advocates have greater ability to get people to try and buy your brand, as they act as salesmen and endorsers for the brand as they offer enthusiastic and authentic advice and encouragement to customers. This they keep doing over and over and continuously over time, not just when there is new news from the brand.
Why are ADVOCATES for your brand likely to be more important for your success?
- Falling trust in paid-for commercial messages: Every study and report shows that consumers are losing trust in advertising as sources of information and trusted messages to make a purchase decision. They are looking more at recommendations from people they know and trust.
- Growing trust in recommendations: A recent Nielsen “Global Online Consumer Survey” across 50 countries showed consumers were much more likely to trust recommendations and consumer opinions posted online than paid for advertisements. The pace of this has accelerated.
- For example, between 2007 and 2009 consumer trust in recommendations from people they know or trusted grew from 78% to 90%, Consumer opinions online from 61% to 70% while trust in TV ads fell from 62% to 49%.
- In another study by Dr Ferris-Costa (University of Rhode Island) showed that brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a source of reliable information, and 50% more able to create content that influences purchase than other sources. The study also showed that they tend to be very loyal to the brand they are advocates of
- What companies can talk about, versus what consumers want to: Another key factor is that, as a study by KRC Research showed, there is an important difference in what companies do and can talk about, and what consumers and users want.
- The top topic companies communicate and speak about is “the quality of our product” (88%) while the top issue consumers want to hear and talk about is “how you feel about a product you have purchased” (69%) – versus the benefits and features as such. Advocates can and do talk about that with credibility, authority and passion. Companies cannot.
How should you help ADVOCATES get the message out about your brand?
- Asking their opinion on what you are doing, your products, advertising etc.
- Use them to input and test out new ideas.
- Thank them for their support, by commenting, and contacting them.
- Create some form of recognition system, which could be through informal meetings with other advocates, writing and tanking them, early briefing and sharing of new news and products, give them access to a senior member of management.
- Create a way to showcase what they are doing through your social media or sites, and within the company.
- Give them products or offers that they can share with their networks.
- Invite them to your factory and behind scenes activities, and ask their thoughts.
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- Michael Brito: “Smart Business, Social Business“
- Zuberance: “10 Definitions of a Brand Advocate“
- NielsenWire: “Global Advertising: Consumers trust real friends and virtual strangers the most“
- Womma.org: “The company behind the brand: in reputation we trust“
- SocialMediaExaminer.com: “9 reasons your company should use brand advocates: new research“
- ClickZ: “12 ways to give your brand advocates a megaphone“
- View my PInterest Board on various infographics on Influencers & Advocates which has:
- BuzzAgent: “A Field guide to Brand Advocates”
- Zuberance: “Three Surprising Facts about Brand Advocates”
- “In Peer Reviews We Trust”