No-one likes a boaster, especially not a boastful brand! As a marketing agency we believe brands should shout about what they can do for the customer, not themselves. But when a brand has lots of loyal customers who love singing its praises to their friends and online, that’s real brand advocacy, and that’s the marketing jackpot!
Word of mouth is probably one of the oldest forms of marketing and it’s certainly one of the most powerful around today. The only difference today is, we’re spreading the word about a great product or service online, on social media or in chat, more than over the garden fence (although many of my best buys have come from my neighbour’s personal recommendations, because she’s taken the time to think if it’s the right product for me).
Hang on, what’s brand advocacy again?
Brand advocacy is simply a campaign or marketing technique which leverages word-of-mouth recommendations; the trick is finding an engaging way to harness this natural marketing power and using it to raise brand profile or sell products and services in a non-boastful way.
Companies worldwide advocate brand advocacy across their marketing because it works – with great effect. Whether used as a marketing campaign, a social media strategy, content strategy, a promotional device or a website feature, advocacy drives customer satisfaction, reduces churn and increases revenue because it is authentic, trusted content that engages customers ‘like me’. What’s more, advocacy content is really cost-effective to produce, although it does pay to check and manage user-generated content (UGC) before it goes live to ensure it is appropriate for your brand. No brand wants negative, foul mouthed or abusive content being promoted on their social media or website.
So who could advocate your brand?
You can champion a range of people who speak highly of your brand – it doesn’t have to be customers. You could make advocates out of your social following, employees, internal thought-leaders, former customers, topic experts or celebrity influencers.
What could you do with their testimonials?
Plenty! Here are some great examples of brands and organisations who have used positive content from people connected to them to drive sales and brand awareness.
With limited showrooms, Made.com know that people will only buy their big-ticket items online if they trust the brand. Staged photoshoots don’t have the power to build trust like UGC, so back in 2019, Made.com asked content producers (Made.com customers with an eye for styling) to send in photos of their homes.
Winners became part of Made.com’s next ad campaign and natural advocates of the brand. Customers put their trust in these home stylists and brand advocacy is still a key part of Made.com’s sales strategy. Today when you visit Made.com, customer’s interiors are still part of the key trust points on the website
West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue
When it comes to recruitment, advocacy proved a powerful tool in changing the perceptions of who could be a firefighter for West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue. This forward-thinking service featured real crew members across their recruitment campaign to demonstrate that men and women of every build, ethnicity and background had the potential to be a firefighter.
When it comes to an oil and gas company changing hearts and minds about green issues, it’s fair to say they don’t have an easy task! Shell’s latest campaign in their #MakeTheFuture mission, is a series of TV ads which feature Shell employees talking about how their work is making big changes not only for our planet but for themselves too.
These beautifully shot TV spots give us an insider’s view on this large company and highlights the actions Shell is taking behind the scenes to be net-zero emissions and the benefits for all of us.
Once the regional underdog, Yorkshire Tea became Britain’s best-selling tea brand in 2020, thanks to its longstanding marketing strategy which majors on TV and social. On a mission to become culturally famous, the tea team have carved out a strong proposition and tone of voice about things being ‘done proper’. When customers talk to Yorkshire Tea on Twitter and Facebook, it’s only proper that the brand responds quickly by championing them at every opportunity.
Could your brand hit the ‘marketing jackpot’?
If there are people who champion your brand or company – even just a few – it’s worth exploring how you could use their authenticity and personal recommendations to drive customer retention, reduce churn and boost revenue for your brand. To discuss how your brand could best use brand advocacy, talk to Jo at firstname.lastname@example.org