Friday, 20 January 2012

Hotcow's tips to turn consumers into brand advocates

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Mastering the different stages of a decision journey and understanding what works in the live environment can shift your consumers from awareness towards usage and advocacy.
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Building a great brand is not just about creating great products or services. It is about working hard to deliver a positive experience every time the customer interacts with your brand. Turning your customers into brand advocates is not an easy task. It all depends on the level of brand awareness and where your product/service is located within the buying decision ranks. A true brand advocate does your marketing for free.

Therefore, giving a personalised experiential touch to your marketing strategy can highly increase the chances of regular consumers becoming great advocates of your brand.
With new technologies, consumers are savvy and more connected than ever before. Brands that are constantly encouraging participation, creativity and collaboration of consumers are more likely to succeed in such an experiential world. Experiential marketing is a great influencer of consumer decisions and actions, using powerful engagement tactics to bring your brand’s message to life. Live Experiences, PR Stunts and Guerrilla Marketing activities can be used to create great online content and broad online conversations, combined with other media channels to amplify your message to a wider audience.
Thanks to the digital revolution, word of mouth is now spread at extraordinary speed; making instantly globalised product launches, turning new brands into potential leaders and rewarding exceptional performance with immediate interest and approval from consumers. It makes it easy for brand advocates to actively spread a positive word of mouth highlighting the personal value and benefits of their relationship with your brand.


So, how can you move consumers through the advocacy cycle?


More and more, consumers are valuing brands that strive to create great experiences, and frequently rely on the word of mouth and opinions of friends, fans and followers of a brand. A recent Marketing Week article highlights the importance of a positive consumer experience, proving that retaining existing customers is far more valuable and cheaper than recruiting new ones. The widespread growth of online communities and social networks in the new millennium have meant that peer to peer communications are an even more valuable asset to brands. Not only do consumer recommendations have a much higher perceived level of credibility, but the two-way communication that this platform promotes between a brand and its consumers is also second to none.

Similarly, according to McKinsey research, it is important for brands to recognise word of mouth promotion as becoming the most successful method of influencing consumer purchasing decisions, as it has an unrivaled power to intercept the cluttered marketing environment. The McKinsey report highlights experiential as the most prevalent activity for generating valuable word of mouth, which is influenced through a combination of direct and personal consumer experiences with a brand. In fact, 50-80% of word of mouth brand advocacy is a direct result of consumers’ personal experiences with a brand. Therefore, it is imperative that marketers appreciate the value of experiential marketing as an empowering and direct method of communication with consumers.
The process of converting consumers to advocates depends on the levels of awareness and engagement that your brand already has with your customers. If the customer is indifferent, you need to build a positive experience with consistent and coordinated interactions to guarantee satisfaction and loyalty. Subsequently, experiential activities can offer unexpected experiences that can develop a strong bond between your brand and consumers, encouraging them to become active participating members of your customer community, and ultimately, driving positive word of mouth within their networks.

Hotcow’s tips to turn consumers into brand advocates


Wow factor: Experiential tactics should be implemented with the aim of making campaigns stand out from crowd, cutting thorough the marketing clutter by stopping consumers in their tracks and inspiring interaction. 

Build a solid customer experience: Implement truly unique and consistent creative elements that will make the campaign prevail within the consumers mind.
Active promotion: People share their experiences via various social media channels. Create incentives/ mechanisms to encourage consumers to share their experience with their peers. From QR codes, to social media competitions, interactivity beyond the campaign itself is key.
Foster relationships: Two way communication, responsiveness and transparency are key to developing true relationships.
Rewarding loyalty: No matter how loyal customers may be, temptations from competitors are never far away. Avoid taking existing customers for granted by ensuring you frequently and actively reward them.


Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results. For more information or a free consultation contact us. http://goo.gl/2x0Hp
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