Brand advocates – why you need them, how to get them
Posted by Michelle van Schouwen
A brand advocate is a person or group that likes your brand, speaks or blogs or tweets or otherwise communicates about it, may buy your brand, and certainly influences others to consider doing so. A brand advocate is a like a billboard with credibility – no, not literally, but you get the idea.
vSA tells its clients that they will benefit from having brand advocates – that, in fact, they need them if they want optimal performance from their companies or organizations.
Here are a few benefits:
-Believability: Isn’t it credible when someone else sings your praises? Third-party endorsement tends to ring true.
-Velocity: Talk goes viral. Your advocates are your feet on the street. They have no reason to be “selling” you – they simply admire your company, products, services, or mission.
-Reputation enhancement: People say your company is great. They say it all the time. Point taken.
-Stability: A great reputation can help navigate your company through stormy seasons.
How can you get brand advocates?
-Since Mahatma Gandhi said it, it is worth hearing, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” So ask.
-Seek media coverage (print, online, broadcast) that provides third-party endorsement, whether by virtue of an article being published or – even better – a bylined article by someone who speaks well of your brand – an advocate!
-Gather testimonials and case studies. Customers who’ve used your products and services to solve problems, who come back to you over and over, brand loyalists… it may sound like old school but there is a reason companies continue to use testimonials and case studies – they act as proof that the company has advocates!
-Get your products and services reviewed and tested independently – publish the good news about how they’ve done.
-Train users in the best ways to employ your products and services, and make advocates of these users. Better yet, make them loyal for life.
-Get involved with independent training and certification programs through which your products and services can be recognized for their excellence in specific usages or characteristics.
These are just a few of the many ways to build brand advocates. We’d enjoy hearing about your experiences, in this blog or on the van Schouwen Associates Facebook page (where, by the way, your “like” vote counts in our book as brand advocacy)!