“Victory in marketing doesn’t happen when you sell, but when you cultivate advocates for your brand” (Steven Knox – CEO of Tremors)
On November 3rd, Apple celebrated its 10th anniversary with the launch of much-anticipated iPhone X. In the meanwhile; on December 3rd, I will hopefully celebrate my 6th wedding anniversary with a purchase of an iPhone x for my Apple loving wife. She is not just a regular Apple customer, but a typical fan turned into a brand advocate. When she asked for iPhone X for the anniversary, I gave her several other phone options, but she insisted on iPhone (married life is tough).
There is no debate in saying that Apple has the most fanatical customer loyalty and that in a way very few companies can match. Apple has not only created hundreds and thousands of loyal customers but has also established an emotional connection with them. And emotions are way more powerful than any price tag incentive. This is the reason that despite being expensive; an apple customer not only sticks to the brand but also is also a brand ambassador. This is a splendid marketing success. And the reason why most brands struggle to get there is because they fail to give reasons to their customers to stay loyal to the brand.
Brand Evangelism and the Power of Customer Advocacy
Who doesn’t likes to share his buying experience? Most of the people are passionate to give their opinions and suggestions about the products they purchase.
A brand evangelist is a satisfied customer who just can’t wait to preach about the things and products they have bought. A brand evangelist is an ardent fan who not only likes to talk and share your message but also comes to the brand’s defense on discussion forums. These customers are emotionally attached to the brand and do a free of cost marketing for the brand inadvertently. This is the reason that most of the e-commerce websites using WooCommerce have integrated WooCommerce brands plugin to showcase prominent brands on their home pages. It allows customers to shop products from a favorite manufacturer thus, improves website navigation and conversions with the power of brand evangelism.
However, bringing customers to this level is not easy. In this article, we have shortlisted six ways to convert your customers into brand evangelists.
1. Create a Brand Ideology
All dominant brands have an ideology. Apple is about pride, Coca-Cola is about celebration, Harley-Davidson is about rebelliousness and Ferrari is about speed. Companies like Apple; they don’t sell products i.e., tablets or phones, they sell a belief and even the consumer buys more of the belief than the product. The objective is to create a distinction and psychologically differentiate the brand across the market values to establish a brand image that associates with the consumer’s mindset.
Brand Ideology plays an important role in the buying process. What makes you choose one brand product over another when they both have nearly the same features and specifications? Brand ideology comes in action here. A good example is coca-cola. Many people prefer coca-cola over other soft drinks because of the happiness, celebration and the good causes which are the part of their brand ideology. If you are unable to create a distinction in product or services, create a unique and different brand ideology.
2. Create a Community To Create Value
In order to get your customers loyal to your brand, you must bring all the like-minded customers together at one place by creating a community. The purpose of brand communities is to boost your brand image and enhance the customer experience by offering consumers a platform to interact and support each other. This is why every web design company prefer Woo Commerce or WordPress over Magento or Shopify because of the strong and active communities that love to support each other.
Communities are not just for big brands with huge budgets. You can create a community for your local garments shop or any small business. These days it’s not hard to create a community. You can take social media to your advantage. There are possibilities of negative reviews as well. Don’t take a negative review as a sale killer. It not only adds authenticity and trust to the community members but also helps you analyze your weaknesses and consumer expectations. Remember, the purpose of the community is to create value, not sales. Once you get them talking about your brand; sales will automatically start to roll.
Starbucks has created a community “My Starbucks Idea” which gives their customers an insight into what the company is up to and makes them feel like an insider.
3. Fanatical Customer Support
In the past couple of years, the concept of customer support has changed entirely as today’s customer is far more demanding and wants individual attention. Gone are those days when customer stood in queues and waited for their turn to get attended. Presently, brands must provide a stellar customer service that must be active 24/7. Most of the times, FAQs or automated email response is not enough to solve customer queries. A dedicated and trained brand representative at the support end is appreciated and is also considered to be the source of authentic information.
4. Admit to Errors
No matter how smart you are, mistakes are inevitable. It’s natural; brands make mistakes. The key to customer loyalty is to admit those mistakes and value customer feedback. Own your errors and take responsibility for your actions. When brands get defensive on the negative feedback, they lose the emotional relationship with the customers.
We all know about the Pepsi’s “Live for Now Moments Anthem, ”civil rights commercial released earlier this year. The ad received lots of negative reviews, and people got mad at Pepsi for capitalizing a sensitive issue for the sake of selling soft drinks. Amidst the controversy, Pepsi made a smart move by making an official apology for their conduct and saved the brand image.
5. Offer Rewards and Loyalty Points
Retaining existing customers is imperative for any business. It is essential that you reward your loyal and regular customers as they spend 67% more than the new customer. Implement a well-crafted loyalty program in your marketing strategy to keep you regular customer energized and engaged.
Furthermore, when customers are unhappy about something, the quick and best way to regain their trust is to offer rewards and giveaways as a gesture of goodwill.
Customer advocacy is something every brand dreams of achieving. On the path to achieve customer loyalty, business owners often find themselves at the crossroads deciding what areas to focus. Although it may vary from business to business, the above mentioned five practices will pave the way to achieving your business objectives.
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