How to Turn Your Customers into Your Brand Crusaders
Ever wonder how products designers and brand managers create ‘buzz’ around a product? The task is not simple, but the secret lies in getting your consumers to adopt and advocate your brand by exceeding their expectations. The common question that arises is how do companies convince customers not only to use their products, but to adopt their brands? And once the adoption has occurred, what makes the customer a brand advocate? Below we will outline the key points to obtaining adoption and advocacy for your brand.
As mentioned before adoption is a main objective for product managers and marketers. However, it goes well beyond the customer simply buying into or purchasing the product. If you want the consumer to become loyal to your brand you must exceed their expectations. To do so you must fully understand the needs and aspirations of the target audience. Discovering audience needs is fairly straightforward; you develop user benefits and ensure the product is useful. On the other hand determining aspirations becomes a bit more tricky. These are acquired by inquiry, observation, and translation. When the intended user is enriched at every stage of interaction an emotional bond is created which lead to loyalty and brand relationships. Something to keep in mind is that only products with true value have the potential for rapid adoption. Value is subjective and varies among individuals, which is why understanding the aspirations of the customer is so important. A key component to adoption is the ‘coolness factor’. Trusted or popular individuals, such as celebrities, influence adoption and advocacy. So as long as the credibility of the product is maintained the initial ‘coolness factor’ can be the spark that lights the fire.
Advocacy succeeds adoption because it is a function of expectations both positive and negative. Those who have a good experience with a product want others to discover those benefits therefore making them an advocate. Conversely, this is also the case if the customer has a negative experience. Again, needs and aspirations inform expectations and should be the root of study. The aspects that provide the basis for leveraging advocacy are ensuring reliability, creating value, and establishing a sense of community. Even with these elements present consumers must feel motivated to share.
The most powerful motivations are derived from self-interest, mutual benefit, and altruism. The final piece for adopters to transition to advocates is emotional engagement and identification. Achieving both of these can be the most direct way to compel advocacy. So, the key to turning your customers into brand evangelists is adoption and advocacy. They’re a package deal and can take your brand from having a following of merely being a provider of products to an allegiance of individual ‘owners’ and true believers. Learn more on branding and marketing at Fremont College’s bachelor of arts degree program in business leadership.