BRAND ADVOCACY ESSENTIALS PART 1: WHAT IS BRAND ADVOCACY?
The power of advocacy has exponentially increased over the years, making it the one tool that can make or break a brand or product. Without advocates pushing through the marketing clutter, brands have a hard time moving the needle in the market. However, with the various types of brand advocates, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for achieving your brand’s specific goals.
With 38 years of industry expertise and experience driving successful Brand Advocacy programs for our clients, we’re sharing our insider knowledge through this series that explains what Brand Advocacy is, the different types of advocates, and why you need them to support your brand.
What Is Brand Advocacy?
Brand Advocacy is referred to as the “holy grail” of customer loyalty. It’s more than an affinity towards a specific brand – it’s a deep, emotional connection to a brand or product that makes you want to make repeat purchases and stay loyal to a brand.
At BDS, we hire brand advocates that we know will be a right brand fit, train on product and selling skills, and develop employees in their careers to not only represent a brand but share their love for the brand with shoppers. As Hootsuite puts it, “It’s an extension of that age-old tactic: word-of-mouth marketing, and it’s a great way to generate those all-important meaningful relationship moments.”
Who Are Brand Advocates?
Brand advocates are not only highly knowledgeable about certain brands and products, but are extremely passionate about them. Essentially, brand advocates are people who already love your product or service and engage with your brand. Brand advocates can be store associates or develop organically, such as friends and family that promote a product or brand through word-of-mouth.
How Do I Develop Brand Advocates Organically?
Anyone can become a brand advocate organically. There are a variety of ways to turn the average consumer into a repeat customer that advocates for your brand:
- Exceptional customer service
- User-friendly product experiences
- Personalized brand interactions
- Engaging promotions
- In-person recommendations
However, generating brand advocates organically can take a lot of time, money, and effort, which is why many brands turn to paid brand advocates to speed up the process and boost their marketing efforts.
What Are the Different Types of Paid Brand Advocates?
With endless possibilities, how do you know which one is not only right for your brand, but will make the impact you need? Whether you’re looking for a brand advocate inside or outside of retail, we have you covered.
An influencer has an engaged following online or on social media. Influencers use their platform to communicate and influence consumer brand perceptions and purchase decisions. Influencers can be writers, bloggers, content creators, celebrities, and more. The bigger the audience, the more these individuals are paid to promote brands and products, which can be in the form of payments and/or free products.
Influencers are highly influential to consumers. A recent study showed that 48% of people who were exposed to influencer content visited a particular retailer within four days of seeing an ad for it.
Sales Associates (In Store)
Being the most influential type of brand advocate within retail, sales associates hold the keys to a brand’s success (or failure) in retail locations, which is why mindshare and rate of recommendation are main factors in each BDS Brand Advocacy Program strategy.
With increasing consumer expectations, sales associates hold even more power to deliver solutions to shoppers that ultimately influence purchase decisions. By hiring, training, and transforming sales associates into brand advocates, your brand will stay at the top of mind when consumers are looking for a product to suit their needs.
Brand Representatives (On-the-Go)
With trained brand representatives, you can control the brand identity and messaging delivered to consumers. Our variety of Brand Advocacy solutions are tailored to meet your brand’s goals. Whether you’re looking for Assisted Sales Representatives that sell your products during key selling seasons or Market Development Managers that drive sales within their territories, our brand representatives can strongly influence the purchase decision of friends, family, and others, while in store or on the go.
With 75% of consumers claiming that word-of-mouth plays a key role in their purchase decisions, a brand can only go so far without brand advocates. Brand advocacy is a time-tested tool that makes a deep, measurable impact in the short term and long run, while giving you ownership, personalization, flexibility and the agility that a brand needs.
Thanks for reading!
To learn more about Brand Advocacy, read the second part of our Brand Advocacy Essentials Series. Ready to transform sales associates into passionate brand advocates? Schedule an appointment with us today!