Social CRM: Brand Advocacy and the Evolution of the Loyalty Program


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Advocacy: Another Key Metric in the Loyalty Equation

In our February 7th post we talked about the coming revolution that is Social CRM and the profound impact measuring, quantifying and integrating these conversations into CRM profiles will have in establishing the value of Brand Advocacy. It is the concept of rewarding these advocates that we want to focus on in this post. In particular we will examine the evolution of the Loyalty Program in a world where Brand Conversations and behaviours associated with Brand Advocacy will be considered alongside purchase behaviour as prime drivers in establishing the components of program currency.

Loyalty programs have long been centered on a group of metrics primarily linked to purchase behaviour and with good cause. Consumption of goods and/or services is what drives a business forward and thus it is logical and appropriate to reward consumers for behaviours which directly contribute to this key business metric.

However what if someone is a relatively light consumer of a product or service but in some way personifies the core values or is a major advocate for said Brand? Is it in fact not possible that this individual may be worth more to the brand for his or her potential influence over a multitude of others than even the heaviest of users?

The Age of the Influencer

We are living in an age when the power of an individual to influence others (both positively and negatively) is becoming an increasingly major force in the Brand Marketing Ecosystem. Just as multi-level marketing firms celebrate and reward their most productive and influential distributors, so will Brands and their corporate owners recognize and reward their greatest advocates and by necessity, their greatest critics. This recognition is a public opportunity for Brands to celebrate their customers and to create and share content across the Social Influence Media universe. It also offers a terrific public relations upside. Loyalty Programs will accordingly evolve into mechanisms for rewarding not only consumption behaviour but also the Brand Advocacy of prospects and customers. Consumption will no doubt remain a key metric for determining customer value and currency or reward levels but there can be no question the metrics of Advocacy have fundamentally changed the Loyalty Equation forever.

To this end it is our view that the term Social CRM should be evolved to Social RM, because in the world of Brand Advocacy, Relationships are a currency of their own. These relationships will increasingly influence the metrics of Loyalty, whether one is a customer or a prospect.

Dual Sides of a Single Coin

Looking ahead, savvy practitioners of Social RM will come to view a Loyalty Program as a key pillar in building additional intimacy, understanding and dialogue with their customers. Indeed Social RM and Loyalty Programs are highly complementary and may well be viewed as most effective when paired in an integrated manner. Additionally, methodologies such as the STREAMED AND UNSTREAMED TAGGING PROCESS which we discussed in our last post, or tools such as the intriguing WECANDO.BIZ offer an unparalleled and rich opportunity to provide value and reward customer or prospect behaviour in the days, months and years ahead.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Edward Boyd
Ted Boyd is CEO and Partner at digital marketing agency 58Ninety Inc., where he has created interactive marketing strategies and solutions for a variety of Fortune 500 clients. He has 25 years marketing and sales experience, including 16 years in digital marketing. Ted is the founding President of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada and currently sits on the Board of CBC/Radio-Canada and the Audit Bureau of Circulations where serves as chair of its Canadian Digital Advisory Committee.


  1. Edward,

    I think your perspective is right on! I further think we should also be mindful of the B2B ramifications of Social RM, taking into consideration the power of an individual’s influence over brand and customer loyalty.


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