THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business”President Obama was elected in 2008 because The number of Obama’s Facebook fans or Twitter, and the entire social web sparked ahe knew how to create and mobilize advocates. Twitter followers is irrelevant in this example. It groundswell of supporters for his vision. And theThrough authentic community engagement, he wasn’t the quantity or size of Obama’s online end result of this level of advocacy, on Novemberwas also able to raise half a billion dollars online community that helped him get elected. One of 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President ofin his 21-month campaign for the White House, the primary reasons Obama was elected was his the United States.dramatically ushering in a new digital era in ability to inspire action. His supporters believedpresidential fundraising and advocacy. in his vision. They trusted in the “Change we can This is a valuable lesson and case study for believe in” positioning statement. His supporters business.In 2008, the Washington Post provided insight rallied behind him and told their friends,into Obama’s online operation based on the followers, co-workers, family members, andnumbers: Three million supporters made a total neighbors—and even called strangers every dayof 6.5 million donations online, adding up to more for months to share his vision for the country.than $500 million. Of those 6.5 million donations, The volume of online conversation on Facebook,6 million were in increments of $100 or less. “The average online donation was $80, and theaverage Obama supporter gave more than once. ONE OF THE PRIMARY REASONS OBAMA WAS “More than 13 million people provided their email ELECTED WAS HIS ABILITY TO INSPIRE ACTION.addresses to the “Obama for America” campaignsite and opted in to receive email messagesabout campaign news and events. They alsomore than 400,000 blog posts, hosted morethan 200,000 events, and established more than45,000 volunteer groups throughout the UnitedStates. And just before Election Day, Obamasupporters made more than 3 million phone callsto citizens advocating his election.www.britopian.com | @britopian 2
THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business”CUSTOMER ADVOCACY “Most companies, products, and brands haveadvocates. An advocate is a person who lovesor believes in something so much that he or shetells anyone and everyone about it. Advocates ADVOCATES PROVOKE ACTION BECAUSE THE LEVEL OF “ TRUST THEY HAVE WITH THEIR CIRCLES OF INFLUENCE.about the brands they care about even if no oneis listening. fan and then following or just liking a brandAdvocates also play these roles: inspires action. Imagine for a minute how a brand could put just a little effort in harnessing Trusted sources of information those potential relationships and invest in time, resources, energy, and creativity to Promoters and defenders of the brand build a program focusing on this relationship. Advocates are everywhere—they’re dormant and just waiting to be activated.between the two. Advocates provoke action THE DIFFERENCE BETWEENbecause of the level of trust they have with their INFLUENCERS AND ADVOCATESthey are authentic, and people trust their friends Many companies don’t understand thewhen seeking product advice. Advocates also advocate. Although some advocates canbehavior and are always willing to go the extramile to answer questions about the brand or advocates.product. Companies need to think long termfor their advocates. audience on the social web. Many bloggers,An important distinction needs to be made analysts, and journalists are consideredhere. The mere action of becoming a friend orwww.britopian.com | @britopian 3
THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business” “over the community reading their content. …INFLUENCERS HAVE THEIR OWN AGENDAS AND THE BRAND DOESN’T “community by offering up products before they USUALLY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN IT.a product road-map. The relationship betweenupon incentives—for example, a brand sends to media relations. PR teams spend day after companies are merely renting the conversation, day pitching stories to journalists and nine times and the conversation isn’t always authentic. out of ten get little to no results. It’s the same If it was, companies wouldn’t have to keepor her blog. conversation alive.long-term health of the brands that consistently community, they need to remain impartial to ADVOCATES LOVE THE BRAND ANDreach out to them to pitch a product. Instead, brands. Because they’re often journalists, TELL OTHERS ABOUT IT analysts, or bloggers, their readers expect them to stay above the marketing fray—or CEO of Proctor & Gamble’s word-of-mouth suffer the consequences of selling out to division Tremor, is “[giving] to someone without corporate America. The untold reality of many any expectation of getting something in return.”in some way, but they’re being pitched all thetime by companies looking to get some level of This is a powerful statement that’s not toocoverage. They certainly enjoy receiving free common in business today. Companies need totrials and new products before everyone else, Electronics Show (CES) or other industry events, adopt this thinking if they truly want to tap intoand they’ll very rarely say no when a company the conversation stops. Then the already the power of advocacy and create a groundswellwants to send them a new shiny object. infrequent tweets completely disappear, and of loyal and vocal customers. If they can take off their direct marketing hats and spend timeThe reality is that there are no guarantees when because their ego was somehow compromised. valuing their customers, their customers willwww.britopian.com | @britopian 4
THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business”value them back—and they won’t be afraid to tell shopping sites, review sites, and more. Even or simply the brand story. Nothing differentiatesothers about it, either. Tapping into the emotional better, this is all done merely through authentic a company from its competitors more thanequity of customers will result in a long-term (and conversations. As mentioned throughout this positive customer reviews. Reviews can simply be book, trust is key when making purchasing decisions. Consumers have a low level of trust product reviews on third-party commerce websitesAdvocates will still love the brand even when “engaging in a one-sided conversation. Advocateswill continue to praise the brand when it seemslike the company isn’t listening or responding [ADVOCATES] LOVE THE WAY A BRAND MAKES THEM FEEL, OR LOOK, “to tweets or blog posts. They love the way a OR THEY LIKE THE VALUE IT BRINGS TO THEIR LIVES.brand makes them feel, or look, or they like thevalue it brings to their lives. They may even lovethe brand because it feeds their own egos or in marketing communications, advertising, and such as Amazon. The competitive landscape ismakes a fashion statement. Whatever the reason, corporate website content. They do trust people growing, and new products are coming to marketadvocates are vocal, passionate, and unafraid like themselves. Several credible resources, everyday. No one can relate that message of including the Edelman Trust Barometer and product differentiation better than a company’ssome cases, advocates even defend the brand Forrester Research, have validated this existing customers. Smart companies are tappingagainst criticism and negative feedback. And numerous times. into the collective intelligence of their advocateseven though they might not have hundreds and innovating their product offerings. Dell,of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or RSS The reality is that every company makes claims Starbucks, and Lego are doing this successfullysubscribers, the conversation with advocates and changing the customer experience for millionsabout the brand is always authentic. Why? But these claims become more meaningful and of people. In doing so, they’re also strengtheningBecause they’re being real and aren’t trying to believable when existing customers are the ones their bond with their advocates.impress anyone. saying it.Advocates can even serve as a powerful “virtual” When a company can tap into advocacy,sales force for any company—bringing in new empower advocates to tell their stories, andcustomers; generating referrals; and spreading then amplify those stories, the overall impactpositive word of mouth on Facebook, Twitter, for business can be great for sales, awareness,www.britopian.com | @britopian 5
THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business”MEASURING THE REACH OFINFLUENCERS AND ADVOCATES in any social strategy when it comes to events, product launches, or quick coverage on an important initiative.his or her voice travels far across the Internet,through a series of retweets, Facebook shares, On the other hand, advocates provide muchor blog posts. more business value because through their natural conversations, they are aiding andAdvocates, on the other hand, are just as through the purchase funnel.same size community or the same reach that anbut this changes if a brand can create customeradvocacy and make it the core of a social mediamarketing strategy. When a company can createan advocate program that taps into the emotionsof their customers and empowers them to sharetheir stories across the social web, the aggregatereach of all these conversations becomesexponential.Companies should not completely ignorewww.britopian.com | @britopian 6
THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business” ABOUT THE AUTHOR MICHAEL BRITO Senior Vice President, Social Business Planning, Edelman Digital Michael Brito is a Senior Vice President of Social Business Planning at Edelman. He helps his clients transform their organizations to be more Purchase a copy of Michael’s book “Smart Business, shared value with employees, partners and customers. His principal Social Business” at: areas of expertise include social media, social business planning, social CRM, change management and employee engagement. Michael joined Edelman in November 2009 after working for Intel Corporation where he served as a global social media strategist Michael is donating 100% of his focusing on the consumer segment. He was instrumental in driving book royalties to Not For Sale, a social media programs, campaigns and initiatives emphasizing end modern-day slavery. www.notforsalecampaign.org and consumers. Michael has also worked for other major brands in Silicon Valley to include to Yahoo!, Hewlett Packard and Sony Electronics where his primary areas of expertise included Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search, Product Marketing, Community Management and Social Media. Michael just recently wrote a book, Smart Business, Social Business, that serves as a playbook for enterprise social media and adoption. He also launched Social Business News; a blog about social business, social CRM, change management and the overall characteristics of a social organization. Michael is also an adjunct professor at San Jose State University where he teaches social business planning to Public Relations and Journalism students. The curriculum covers topics such as social business, social CRM, governance, measurement, content and general online monitoring principles.www.britopian.com | @britopian 7
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