8 November 2010 9 Comments

Brand and community advocates: how to raise an army of brand promoters

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Brand advocatesbrand advocateMost great brands are not product of overnight success. By now that should be clear to anyone who wants to build a strong one. Great brands are products of small, predetermined efforts taken consistently with the collaboration and dedication of every stakeholders involved. One of these stakeholders is the brand advocates. Not many brands enjoy value- added benefits of this stakeholder at inception. A brand must proof it has what it takes to reap the benefits of this exceptional brand army.

Brand advocates are your brand defender, passionate promoters, buyers, investors. They reduce your marketing cost and make your brand story unique. Many research works have been conducted on the value this brand defender can add to your brand. Some called this unique brand community member ‘no or zero-cost sales force’. Because in many cases, brand advocates increase the brand’s sales and relevance by a higher margin.

The December 2003 Harvard Business Review edition revealed a proven research that showed a strong correlation between higher levels of year?to?year revenue growth with a greater number of consumers who recommended a brand. With this understanding, we wonder why brands or its custodians do not work towards building this strong army that will help their brands in no small way. The challenge with many brands in this area is traceable to oversight. Some do not know that their brand’s attitudes discourage potential advocates. The followings are therefore identified as process, steps that can guarantee a brand or community owner gain advantage or support of advocates.

Brand education: No one will stake their integrity on a brand they do not understand. So many brands who shrewd their brands in secrecy may not gain the support of brand advocate. People are only committed to what they have a proper understanding of how it functions. Proper understanding of how a brand functions appeals to some and make them automatic advocates.

Be known for something appealing to special segment: People buy and promote what appeal to them and excite their emotions. In addition to the above, a brand that tries to serve everyone does not gain support of anyone. Never be a jack of all trades. Be known for something unique which appeals emotionally to certain audience. It may take sometimes to catch fire but it is certain. Always note that river will eventually find it paths. Those who think they can get more people/followers by appealing to every crowd often discover such strategy holds no water at the end.

Value them: No one wants to support a cause/brand which does not appreciate them. Value those who come to patronize or support the brand. First impression longer lasting. Whether a person becomes a brand advocate or not starts with the first impression he/she gets from the first contact with the brand. Continually ensure that experience you are daily creating encourages further and stronger relationship. Give freely. Support the people with both tangible and intangible assets that will make them improve on their daily lifestyles. In other words, step up your value acceleration so that they may have something to share with friends and families. Also incorporate their views in brand package, communications and service delivery.

Encourage them with gifts and recognitions: As you will begin to notice, some will feel they owe you something. Some will naturally begin to sing your song at this level. As they begin to do this, encourage those who are singing your song with gifts and recognitions. Make this an open event. This may spark off the spirit of competition among the group. Many will naturally desire the gifts and recognitions. This process does not need to cost you a fortune. Think of what is affordable.

Ask for help: after you have done the above and many others you can think of, ask for help. This is not a bad idea. Ask satisfied people to share their experiences with their friends, families and relatives at different platforms they may be involved in. Also solicit referrals from them if they have truly enjoyed a beneficial relationship from the brand and community. Do not forget also that the above process is a continuous one. Do not stop until you have tons of advocates that will make your job becomes easy.

9 Responses to “Brand and community advocates: how to raise an army of brand promoters”

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