12.05.2013

Creating Brand Advocates

Advertising can be an effective way of communicating your product or service, but the average consumer is reluctant to trust traditional advertisements. Referrals and word of mouth are much more effective ways to get your message heard because these methods come from trusted sources: friends and family. The best way to ensure positive word of mouth about your company is to create positive experiences for your existing customers. This is especially important in the age of social media, when every individual has the ability to communicate with hundreds, if not thousands, of people with a couple taps on their phone or clicks of their mouse. 

By establishing a more personal connection with your customers, you can increase the chance that they will go out and tell their friends about you. To leverage your most enthusiastic customers, you can take this concept a step further and implement an official brand advocacy program. Many companies have set up VIP programs or "street teams" that reward their best customers for their loyalty. If you can make your brand advocates feel that they are "part of the team," they will spread your message and promote your brand to everyone they know. These brand advocates represent a sales force that you don't have to pay.

This concept doesn't need to be exclusive to your customers. It is important that your employees are also ambassadors for your brand. While many companies assume that their employees are already brand advocates, that's not always the case. You must make a conscious effort to cultivate a mindset of advocacy within your organization. This can be done with team-building exercises, company retreats, corporate culture initiatives, or simply by encouraging a sense of community and company pride.