There is nothing better for a brand than people who love what you do.
In the world of Social Media and instant communication brands need to be more aware of brand advocacy, how to generate it, and how to make the most out of it as a tool.
A brand advocate is a person who enjoys, promotes, and represents a product. They pass on recommendations through word-of-mouth, creating a support network of promotion. This can be live or through Social Media.
Definitions aside, brand advocates are an incredibly powerful tool, and yet a relatively difficult one to come by. Big corporations have eroded trust through misbehaviour for years, in some cases making the world dislike them more and more as the time ticks on. This is where advocates are so important. They can flip public opinion on its head, changing how the world sees a brand once and interacts with it.
The reason behind this is simple: Over the past 10 years the Internet has become a space for reviews and recommendations. More and more people take to Amazon, Google, Trip Advisor, and ecommerce stores to share what they think of a product or service. This has grown substantially, with reviewers gaining pride of place on digital platforms. Reviewers such as MKBHD, Unbox Therapy, TLD, and e4i have gained hundreds of thousands of subscribers over the past year.
Alongside reviewers, the world has seen a boom in brand ambassadors. These are people who, like reviewers, review products but are paid to do so. What this does is turn a reviewer into a brand ambassador instead. These content creators, like FreddieW and Tobuscus, create amazingly innovative ways of advertising a product. This is at the higher end of brand advocacy, used mainly by mainstream brands rather than challenger brands.
On the more grass-roots level, challenger brands are also partnering up with some of the lesser known Youtube stars and groups of Social Media attendees. These are designed to reach out across channels. The question is: Why?
The answer is simple and can be summarised by one word: Trust. As stated before, brands can sometimes struggle with their public image. This is one of the reasons why Microsoft started a blog back in the 1990s and it is why there are so many brand advocates on Instagram from sports firms.
Brand advocates bring the brand to the level of the consumer. They humanise the brand and make it a friend of the customer. People are always most likely to buy from a friend.
This brings us onto a later and more interesting point. Brand advocacy begets brand advocacy.
Brand advocates do not need to be paid. They do not need to be Youtube sensations or Instagram celebrities. Instead they can be normal people and, arguably so, these are the most powerful form of brand advocate. To put it simply, satisfied customers sell products.
This is due to the aforementioned review culture, and is certainly something worth thinking about.
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