Research by HBR has shown that the single most persuasive reason to purchase in 2015 is from someone else’s advocacy.

Brand advocates are highly satisfied shoppers who go our of their way to promote the brands they love. Most often, it’s a positive experience with a brand or product that creates the desire to advocate.

Understanding the value in a customer who becomes an advocate is fundamental in building growth. This is because, according to Tailsman Research, when an advocate is encountered at the right point of the Customer Decision Journey, it can create a higher sales conversion rate than any brand generated message.

The most successful brands are connected to individuals that promote a brand’s core values and ethics through their own networks. Their messaging is instinctive so they integrate as part of the individual’s social lifestyle. In terms of online advocacy, when these messages are seen by shoppers at the right phase, usually just before point of purchase, they can influence a purchase decision.

Amazon reviews are a perfect example. If a shopper sees a review for a pair of headphones from a highly rated user that reads “Even though they were a bit more expensive than the others on my list, they are fantastic!” they are more likely to trust the brand’s own marketing messages. According to Neilsen, 92% of customers trust the advice being given by brand advocates.

I wholeheartedly believe that engaging with brand advocates should be at the start of your strategy. So, I’ve decided to put together my three key reasons on why brands should be focusing on advocacy:

1. Increased brand awareness.
Advocates love to spread the word about a product or company, and when they do, brand awareness increases. The more they discuss your brand, the better chance potential customers will recognise a company at point of purchase, increasing the chances of consideration and trial.

2. More recommendations, likes and tweets on social media.
Social media has allowed advocates to share their thoughts and opinions outside of their once limited social circle. . Social media enables advocates to share their messages across the internet and send their customer stories viral.

3. Stickier customer loyalty and increased lifetime value.
All brand advocates are loyal customers. Loyal customers are a lot less likely to defect to competitors, tend to be ‘less hassle’ and are less price sensitive.

Behaviours and touch points have changed in both number and nature. Which is why I find it shocking that brands are not aligning strategies and budgets to where millennial consumers are actually giving most of their attention and time – to advocacy. In my opinion, brands should be focusing on building advocacy because advocates are walking talking billboards, that build relationships with current and potential shoppers on your behalf.

Image Source: Our Social Times