The “end game” of a lot of marketing and customer experience teams is to gain brand advocates. These aspirational characters speak so highly of your brand and feel so connected to your company, they will never leave you! They will promote your brand as if it were their own! They will do your job for you!
Oh, if only it were that easy!
Advocacy is tricky business.
- What if those actual advocates you gain don’t fit the mold you created in your mind?
- What if they advocate for products you are about to discontinue?
- What if they have expectations from you in exchange for their advocacy?
And what IS advocacy, anyway?
- How does it differ from loyalty?
- Or is it really a way to ask customers to become your marketing channel?
- And why do so many organizations ignore the entire tribe of internal advocates they have – their employees?
Loyal customers and brand advocates are not the same.
They are connected, but not the same.
I can be an advocate for brands and yet never be a loyal customer. This perplexes many brands, especially as they are encouraged to manage communities to create loyalty.
Loyal customers can be your best customers, but never utter a word about your brand to others. Does that make an advocate? Probably not. So what do you do to encourage them to become advocates for your brand?
And can we talk about the mythology around “influencers?” As companies now try to prioritize which community members are special enough to receive actual loyalty in return, they turn to Klout scores and Twitter follower numbers to determine who is worthy. YUCK! But some customers might be worth more than others. What is a customer experience leader to do?
These are some of the issues we plan on tackling in November. Care to join us? We’d love your take on these questions. Join us here and in our online communities to share your take on the ideas around advocacy.