What differentiates a brand advocate from a loyal customer? A brand advocate is a customer who talks favourably about a brand and passes on positive word-of-mouth (WOM) messages about the brand to other people.
A McKinsey study reported that marketing-induced WOM can generate more than double the sales of paid advertising.
5 strategies that can help you in creating brand advocates:
If you follow a one size fits all approach then customers are bound to look for other available alternatives. Personalisation empowers brands to cater to the individual needs of their customers. A deeper connect with customers is established, it helps brands to make their customers feel special and unique. There are multiple ways to incorporate personalisation in the day to day interaction with brands. A simple thing as a greeting card signed by the founder of a company can make a differencẹ. When brands offer products or services in the interest of customer’s choice or preference, personalisation comes to play. An example here is Netflix. For Netflix, personalization lies in identifying, providing the content and experience the users want, this may look different to everyone who uses the service.
2. Loyalty Rewards Program
One of the most effective ways of turning your customer into a brand advocate. There are multidimensional ways of rewarding your customers. Brands are now looking at innovative ways to engage their customers using creative ways to reward customers. Examples can be rewarding points for submitting a review on social platforms, sharing on channels like Instagram etc. Brands today are going beyond the usual points and offering experiences to their loyal customers as rewards. This could be in the form of priority access to VIP customers, access to exclusive events. Omni channel loyalty connects customers to a brand across different touch points seamlessly and provides members with the opportunity to be rewarded for spend and engagement across all channels.
3. Machine Learning
Facilitates user segmentation and targeting. Customer segmentation helps you create a personalized approach that makes customers feel that you understand them. This in turn makes them feel valued, in part because you “know” them well enough to send relevant promotions that don’t waste their time. Segmentation based on customer loyalty helps enrich a loyalty program. Machine learning helps bridge the gap between what brands are currently doing and what customers really want thus driving the customer experience. An example here is of leading coffee chain, Starbucks, they leverage heaps of data in many ways to improve the customer experience and their business.
4. Customer Service & Experience
A critical driver for brand advocacy is the service and experience your brand can offer to customers. A happy customer goes an extra mile to recommend the brand to their network. It is important to offer a consistent five star quality, this is what makes the brands stand out from the rest. Many customer advocates will share their experiences of interacting with a product. People trust recommendations more than any other form of advertising, and they spread the word when they have great customer experiences with a brand. However, they tell 3X more people when they have a bad experience.
While crafting a brand advocacy strategy keep the following in mind:
- Make the product easy to buy and use.
- Seamlessly integrate the product into customer’s day-to-day.
- Deliver unexpected (and infrequent) surprises.
“Shot on iPhone” by Apple, is a creative way to encourage customers to use the product and capture different experiences in a unique way. These user shots included photos ranging from colorful scenery to meaningful family photos. A creative way to encourage customers to use the product and capture different experiences in a unique way.
Customers who feel like they’re part of a community co-create your brand with you.
5. Emotional Bonding
Align your business strategy with your customers’ emotional motivators. Companies deploying emotional-connection-based strategies and metrics to design, prioritize, and measure the customer experience find that increasing customers’ emotional connection drives significant improvements in financial outcomes. Emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers. These customers buy more of your products, visit you more often, exhibit less price sensitivity, pay more attention to your communications, and recommend you more! By keeping track of these emotional motivators and offering them to customers in a loyalty program can help brands to create a niche space in the customers mind. Customers like brands that connect with their needs, some of which may not be explicit. It’s here that some brands are making their mark by impacting their customers’ psychological needs. Customers purchase decisions are influenced by the desire for experiences.
Take the example of Airbnb, they struck an emotional chord with customers, growing from a $100 million venture to $31 billion in just 6 years based on the principles of mutual trust and respect.
Brand advocacy not only delights customers, it also heavily impacts an organization’s bottom-line growth. By turning your loyal customers into enthusiastic brand advocates, you can successfully market your brand without spending too much. To be successful in brand advocacy, it is important to have a good blend of the above strategies.