What is brand advocacy?
Brand advocates are those who actively champion your brand and the value you provide them, and will support your company by endorsing your services or products to new customers organically.
Advocacy is the goal for any software product that interacts with humans. It is the ultimate measure of any software product’s success. Whether you’re building a website, a mobile app, or any digital technology that interfaces with people, the goal is to earn advocacy from the product’s users.
This is done by moving the client up what we at ITX call the Loyalty Ladder – a visual analogy of how each and every customer interaction functions as the rung of a ladder that provides an opportunity to either move users down a rung or up towards advocacy. This starts with earning trust, then moving to building loyalty, and finally, earning advocacy.
In this episode of the ITX Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Joe discuss the different aspects of creating and measuring loyalty and advocacy, and then talk with Adam Bates, the Head of Product Management and User Experience at Amazon, about how he works on creating loyalty within his own customer base.
Adam leads a team of Product Managers, UX Researchers/Designers, and Analysts to create growth opportunities through customer experience innovations in Amazon’s consumables business. Adam has a long history of product management, beginning as a Management and Technology Consultant at Cellexchange in 2000, to becoming a Senior Product Manager at Paychex before joining the team at Amazon.
How do you know you’ve earned brand advocacy?
Measuring customer advocacy should become a key performance indicator for your business to keep track of, talk about daily, and help you raise the bar on your service. The finest testament to your success will be when you derive referrals from those who value your mission. When your customer sends you new customers, you know that you have earned a valuable advocacy relationship with them.
With enough good experiences, your customer crosses what we at ITX refer to as the Advocacy Threshold. This is the point at which your customer actively shares their relationship with your brand publicly via word of mouth, social media, email, or any outlet, without any incentive other than their love for the brand; when your customers invest their personal time, energy, and goodwill in your company. At ITX, when our clients’ users are inspired by our work enough to volunteer positive comments through social channels in peer settings, online or not, we know we’ve succeeded.
The key here is that they have been intrinsically motivated to align themselves with your mission. Getting your customers to cross this threshold as quickly as possible should be the most important job in your business development efforts. You cannot force brand advocacy; it must be earned through results. If they are inspired by your product or services and your company, they will go above and beyond recommending you to others.
Once your customer crosses that Advocacy Threshold, they have made an investment in your brand that indicates the following:
- They are personally invested in you, putting some of their reputation on the line to stand behind your brand.
- They care about what happens to your brand and have said as much to their peers.
- You have a self-identified community of passionate customers who will help you improve your product or service.
- It is the best marketing that you can possibly get. They will be a referral and will help you to grow your business.
So the question is, how can we use technology to pull our loyal customers into an advocacy relationship? To take a deeper dive into how to use your software products to generate brand advocates, check out Episode 2: Creating Advocacy on iTunes, Android, and Google Play. Let us know how helpful the podcast was with a rating and a review!
Sean Flaherty (2015, Septemeber 16). The Loyalty Ladder.
Sean Flaherty (2016, February 11). Loyalty is Not a Transaction.