Many brands can be similar to yours in general product features, selling points, target audience, social media postings, graphic assets, and so on. But what distinguishes your brand among the pack is brand advocacy, when people (clients, customers, supporters, community members) organically promote your products and/or services, attract new members into the fold, and grow your community. Your brand advocates can be grouped into the following categories:
This is far easier said than done. This means creating a product and/or service so successful that it generates a customer base satisfied enough to stick around. This means fostering a workplace culture that retains competent, happy employees who attract new talent and continuously strive for excellence. This means promoting company leaders of good standing in the public eye and personalities who uphold your brand image. Brand advocacy requires vigilance over areas beyond branding and marketing, but it creates an organic ripple effect that transforms your brand from multiple angles.
Influencer marketing is a whirlwind that is still picking up speed and strength, and there is still no telling how far and wide it will go. Like brand advocacy, it requires more nuance than simply finding the most saturated face on social platforms and paying them to shout the name of your brand. Finding the right person for the job involves not just looks and personality, but their projected values, lifestyle, and advocacies. Influencers reel in those that aspire to be like them, those who follow their public activities, and those whom they have established long-term connections with. They can even organically tap into new creative spaces and trends your brand has yet to set foot in. It also bears mentioning that getting the right partnership(s) for the job means they do not get to promote your competitors.
With the current prominence of video-based platforms, the rising demand for authenticity, and the shrinking of attention spans on social media, it may be time for your brand to slay the influencer game.
This is related to brand advocacy but on the ground level of the digital landscape, where building brand credibility and perception includes the participation of:
These are the people who leave good reviews, recommend your brand on their own initiative, and/or engage positively in your brand’s online communities, effectively serving as your brand’s unpaid ambassadors. The ongoing pandemic is challenging organizations and businesses to improve their digital tools but more importantly, improve the ways of reaching out to target audiences in a more appealing and authentic way. It is not just about controlling negative sentiment or damaging incidents; it is also about creating opportunities for positive narrative. To do so, your brand needs to optimize communication channels with your customer base and carve online mini-spaces for your brand community to cultivate in. You might be surprised at how much your brand can benefit from fostering even a short, human conversation with a client who wants to be acknowledged. And remember: gaining 100 active, enthusiastic followers who show support on your online platforms is indisputably better for your brand than 1,000 who don’t.