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.
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.
Customer Success: The North Star for CX Leaders
CustomerThink research finds just 25% of Customer Experience (CX) initiatives are "winning" – able to clearly show business value. Explore how Customer Success can be used as a North Star to create value for your customers and improve the return on your CX efforts.
Hooked On Customers: The Five Habits of Legendary Customer-Centric Companies
Combining his own professional experiences working as a CEO with his extensive research and expertise as an international authority on customer relationships, author Bob Thompson reveals the five routine organizational habits of successful customer-centric businesses: Listen, Think, Empower, Create, and Delight.
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:
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: