Build and leverage advocates for your brand to boost sales exponentially!
In Part 1 of this post we shared what a brand advocate is and that is someone who will go to great lengths to promote your business in both online and offline networks. We also showed that by increasing brand advocates, your business can reduce marketing expenses and increase both advocate spend and value for your business. Talk about significant pay-offs. But now the question is:
How Do You build Advocates for Your Brand?
Here are four actionable ideas to begin building and capitalizing on advocates for your brand.
1. Be authentic. This is one of the key principles of Inspiration Blvd’s research that all companies on the Most Inspiring List share. Know what you stand for; make sure your employees know what you stand for, define, create and build your brand’s DNA: Values, Style, Differentiators, Standards, Brand Platform and Promise. Create and reinforce a culture of authenticity through every facet of your business in how you treat and show up for your employees and customers.
2. Gather feedback from your customers and employees. Assess how they perceive your brand.
a. Based on Fred Reichheld’s research, ask the question, “Do you recommend our brand, products/services, and company to others?” With a simple response scale of “Yes, No, or Don’t Know”, you can determine your net promoter score by subtracting every “No” and “Don’t Know” from the total number of “Yes’s”. A few pointers:
i. If the answer is “Yes”, ask follow-up questions to assess how often and in what situations.
ii. If the answers are “No” or “Don’t Know”, ask for specifics or suggestions on how you can improve their experience and gain their recommendation.
b. Develop a process for customers to provide formal and informal feedback regularly so you keep a pulse on advocacy. Keep it simple.
3. Create community among all stakeholders. Look for ways to inspire stakeholders to believe and talk about your brand; catalyze conversation and create buzz, connect and engage them through online and offline networks:
a. Consider social games, as a way to draw people to your brand. Zynga has several popular games on Facebook such as ‘Farmville’, ‘Mafia Wars’ and recently added ‘Car Town’. To the point, this level of social gaming has benefited Facebook by creating community.
b. Show how your brand improves the lives of others or makes the world a better place. People want to feel a part of something special. When they do, they want to share it with others.
4. Be people-centric—nurture, nurture, nurture your customers, employees and other key stakeholders. Look for creative ways to reward and reinforce the brand experience and show genuine appreciation.
a. 94% of customers want to be loyal (companies just give them reasons not to) – leverage the feedback process, and create a distinctive customer nurturing and appreciation program to turn them into brand advocates.
b. Study brands like Southwest Airlines on how they nurture their employees and involve your employees in creating ways to reinforce and reaffirm the brand. Empowered employees allows agility in your brand to respond quickly and effectively to the needs create delight and increase advocacy.
And remember be vigilant in showing up authentically. Manage the integrity, intent and experience behind your brand. Take it in bite-size pieces and include your employees to create and inspire advocates to proactively generate more business for you, boosting revenues and overall value exponentially.