The digital space also allows audiences to become advocates. ‘Brand advocates are highly satisfied customers who go out of their way to actively promote the products they love and care about.’ (Fuggetta, Rob. 2012). These brand advocates are consumers who, typically, have a large online network. They are at the very heart of the paid, owned earned media equation. Brand advocates are ambassadors who recommend a particular brand without receiving payment or compensation for their advocacy. These advocates may provide reviews or rating, they may share photos, and/or they may be active in a brand forum by assisting others with product problems or queries. While they play an important role in promoting a brand, they also have a role in protecting a brand and may intervene in social networking conversations where a brand is being derogated and try and influence detractors.
“In a worldwide Nielsen survey, 92% of online consumers said they completely trust or somewhat trust recommendations from people they know and 70% said the same of consumer opinions posted online. Brand advocates are an invaluable resource both on and offline. So how do you create more of them and continue to engage your current power advocates?” (Nielsen, 2012)
The word-of-mouth that advocates spread is powerful. Consider how brand advocates form into close knit brand communities. Brands that may immediately come to mind may include Harley Davidson, Apple, and Vans. What is common among advocates is that they relate to a brand’s story and this brand provides the individual with symbolic benefit – it helps the world know who they are, because shared values, expressed through their brand consumption. For some individuals, being a brand advocates provides them membership and validation as they belong to a community with shared passion, and if a brand is strategic, they of course foster the sense of connection, to encourage member sharing of information and advocacy.
Originally published at allyfortis.wordpress.com