The Profound Influence of Brand Advocates

Oct 29, 2013 in Retail

Last week, we explored the topic of customer loyalty and touched on how rewards programs are great ways to influence it. This week, let’s take a step back and gain perspective on influence as a mechanism for boosting sales—specifically, building brand advocates through emotional merchandising and marketing.

Celebrity endorsements have long been a widely used marketing tool—from baseball legend Yogi Berra hawking the Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink in the 1950s and 1960s to hip-hop artist Jay-Z promoting Duracell’s Powermat wireless chargers in 2012. But according to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, it’s hearing the seal of approval from people we actually know and personally trust—like friends and family, instead of recognizable faces on TV—that really powers our purchasing decisions. The study notes that 92% of consumers say they trust, what the advertising world calls, “earned media”—suggestions from friends, family, and acquaintances—above all other forms of advertising.

So the burning question arises—how can companies inspire regular customers to passionately promote products to their personal networks? In other words, how can brands create highly influential brand advocates and encourage them to endorse their products in person and vis-à-vis social media channels?

Brand advocates inherently love your brand and don’t need convincing. Provide them with high-quality and easily shareable content, and remember that brand advocates love to be the source of new information. In other words, arm them with new product launch details and other hot-off-the-press brand updates that they can share with their networks. Let them share your news with your target audience; this strategy will likely drive more traffic to your site and influence your potential customers more than a brand delivering its own promotional message.

Emotional merchandising and marketing go a long way toward building brand advocates. And happy, well-informed employees play a central role in this process. Being there for consumers—answering questions thoughtfully and with patience both in the store and via phone, email, and social forums—leads to satisfied, happy consumers who may turn into brand advocates.

Well-conceived in store displays and customer friendly planograms matter too to this end. Therefore, data collection, retail promotion management, and merchandising field insights across locations matter. GoSpotCheck, through its streamlined collection of field data, makes such work easy, facilitating retail operations and merchandising best practice implementation across the board, so you can create, sustain, and return the love to brand advocates long into the future.