5 Ways to Build Brand Advocacy and Magnify Customers’ Passion

Customers love to share their enthusiasm for their favorite brands. Marketers who ensure that their brand is at the center of these conversations can gain a competitive advantage and spend less on reach, according to analysis of a study by [email protected] and partners CIC, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Visible Technologies.

The study is based on analysis of nearly 7 million brand mentions of 23 brands and eight feature films from customers in four countries: Brazil, China, the UK, and the United States. According to the study, the number one driver of customer advocacy across all four countries is product features. Advocacy mentions comprise about 15% of all brand mentions; the remainder was neutral and negative mentions.

The brands studied that have the highest advocacy, in order, are Sheraton, Estee Lauder, Kimpton Hotels, Levi’s, Olay, Dove, L’Oreal, Nescafe, Gap, and Starbucks. The top 10 in terms of highest passion: Kimpton, Kiehls, Folgers, Banana Republic, Olay, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Levi’s, Dove, and Zara.

Based on the study’s findings, the report cites five recommendations for building customer evangelism:

1. Learn customers’ true advocacy inspirations and use them in your communications and marketing programs. This is not about what drives more basic customer satisfaction. It is about what’s unique not just within your industry, but more specifically what sets apart your brand.

2. Identify your brand’s advocacy drivers. Once you know what each of your differentiated drivers are—which you can uncover by listening to what customers say when they talk about you—determine which will be the most effective for driving advocacy and use them in outreach to customers and prospects.

3. Emphasize product features for global relevance. Product features were the number one advocacy driver for customers in all four countries studied, so it’s important to include key features in marketing campaigns. However, to truly stand out and drive evangelism, brands also need to highlight the key advocacy drivers relevant to each local market.

4. Move beyond sentiment as a metric for tracking advocacy levels. A simply rating system like positive/neutral/negative isn’t meaningful enough for effectively understanding customer advocacy. A better option is a scoring system that tracks changes to advocacy over time, identifies key advocacy drivers, and highlights the primary differentiators between a brand and its main competitors.

5. Enable and encourage customer advocacy. Make it easy for your advocate customers to share information and opinions about your brand on your website and across social channels. Amplify their voices through other channels.

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