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THE RISE OF
CUSTOMER ADVOCACY
An excerpt from Michael Brito’s book “Smart Business, Social Business”




© 2012 Pearson Education. Excerpt used with permission by Que Publishing.
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 a
he knew how to create and mobilize advocates.      Twitter followers is irrelevant in this example. It   groundswell of supporters for his vision. And the
Through authentic community engagement, he         wasn’t the quantity or size of Obama’s online         end result of this level of advocacy, on November
was also able to raise half a billion dollars online
                                                   community that helped him get elected. One of         4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of
in 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 believed
presidential 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, and
numbers: Three million supporters made a total     neighbors—and even called strangers every day
of 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 the
average 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” campaign
site and opted in to receive email messages
about campaign news and events. They also

more than 400,000 blog posts, hosted more
than 200,000 events, and established more than
45,000 volunteer groups throughout the United
States. And just before Election Day, Obama
supporters made more than 3 million phone calls
to 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 have
advocates. An advocate is a person who loves
or believes in something so much that he or she
tells 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 one
is listening.
                                                     fan and then following or just liking a brand
Advocates 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 BETWEEN
because of the level of trust they have with their
                                                     INFLUENCERS AND ADVOCATES
they are authentic, and people trust their friends   Many companies don’t understand the
when seeking product advice. Advocates also
                                                     advocate. Although some advocates can
behavior and are always willing to go the extra
mile to answer questions about the brand or          advocates.
product. Companies need to think long term

for their advocates.
                                                     audience on the social web. Many bloggers,
An important distinction needs to be made            analysts, and journalists are considered
here. The mere action of becoming a friend or




www.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 between

upon 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 keep
or her blog.
                                                                                                        conversation alive.

long-term health of the brands that consistently   community, they need to remain impartial to          ADVOCATES LOVE THE BRAND AND
reach 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 the
time by companies looking to get some level of                                                          This is a powerful statement that’s not too
coverage. They certainly enjoy receiving free                                                           common in business today. Companies need to
trials and new products before everyone else,      Electronics Show (CES) or other industry events,     adopt this thinking if they truly want to tap into
and they’ll very rarely say no when a company      the conversation stops. Then the already             the power of advocacy and create a groundswell
wants 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 time
The reality is that there are no guarantees when   because their ego was somehow compromised.           valuing their customers, their customers will




www.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 differentiates
others about it, either. Tapping into the emotional   better, this is all done merely through authentic   a company from its competitors more than
equity 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 websites
Advocates will still love the brand even when




                                                       “
engaging in a one-sided conversation. Advocates
will continue to praise the brand when it seems
like 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 the
value it brings to their lives. They may even love
the brand because it feeds their own egos or          in marketing communications, advertising, and       such as Amazon. The competitive landscape is
makes a fashion statement. Whatever the reason,       corporate website content. They do trust people     growing, and new products are coming to market
advocates 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’s
some cases, advocates even defend the brand           Forrester Research, have validated this             existing customers. Smart companies are tapping
against criticism and negative feedback. And          numerous times.                                     into the collective intelligence of their advocates
even 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 successfully
subscribers, the conversation with advocates                                                              and changing the customer experience for millions
about the brand is always authentic. Why?             But these claims become more meaningful and         of people. In doing so, they’re also strengthening
Because 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, and
customers; generating referrals; and spreading        then amplify those stories, the overall impact
positive 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 OF
INFLUENCERS 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 much
or blog posts.                                       more business value because through their
                                                     natural conversations, they are aiding and
Advocates, on the other hand, are just as
                                                     through the purchase funnel.
same size community or the same reach that an


but this changes if a brand can create customer
advocacy and make it the core of a social media
marketing strategy. When a company can create
an advocate program that taps into the emotions
of their customers and empowers them to share
their stories across the social web, the aggregate
reach of all these conversations becomes
exponential.

Companies should not completely ignore




www.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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The Rise Of Customer Advocacy

  • 1. THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY An excerpt from Michael Brito’s book “Smart Business, Social Business” © 2012 Pearson Education. Excerpt used with permission by Que Publishing.
  • 2. 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 a he knew how to create and mobilize advocates. Twitter followers is irrelevant in this example. It groundswell of supporters for his vision. And the Through authentic community engagement, he wasn’t the quantity or size of Obama’s online end result of this level of advocacy, on November was also able to raise half a billion dollars online community that helped him get elected. One of 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of in 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 believed presidential 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, and numbers: Three million supporters made a total neighbors—and even called strangers every day of 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 the average 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” campaign site and opted in to receive email messages about campaign news and events. They also more than 400,000 blog posts, hosted more than 200,000 events, and established more than 45,000 volunteer groups throughout the United States. And just before Election Day, Obama supporters made more than 3 million phone calls to citizens advocating his election. www.britopian.com | @britopian 2
  • 3. THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business” CUSTOMER ADVOCACY “ Most companies, products, and brands have advocates. An advocate is a person who loves or believes in something so much that he or she tells 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 one is listening. fan and then following or just liking a brand Advocates 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 BETWEEN because of the level of trust they have with their INFLUENCERS AND ADVOCATES they are authentic, and people trust their friends Many companies don’t understand the when seeking product advice. Advocates also advocate. Although some advocates can behavior and are always willing to go the extra mile to answer questions about the brand or advocates. product. Companies need to think long term for their advocates. audience on the social web. Many bloggers, An important distinction needs to be made analysts, and journalists are considered here. The mere action of becoming a friend or www.britopian.com | @britopian 3
  • 4. 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 between upon 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 keep or her blog. conversation alive. long-term health of the brands that consistently community, they need to remain impartial to ADVOCATES LOVE THE BRAND AND reach 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 the time by companies looking to get some level of This is a powerful statement that’s not too coverage. They certainly enjoy receiving free common in business today. Companies need to trials and new products before everyone else, Electronics Show (CES) or other industry events, adopt this thinking if they truly want to tap into and they’ll very rarely say no when a company the conversation stops. Then the already the power of advocacy and create a groundswell wants 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 time The reality is that there are no guarantees when because their ego was somehow compromised. valuing their customers, their customers will www.britopian.com | @britopian 4
  • 5. 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 differentiates others about it, either. Tapping into the emotional better, this is all done merely through authentic a company from its competitors more than equity 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 websites Advocates will still love the brand even when “ engaging in a one-sided conversation. Advocates will continue to praise the brand when it seems like 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 the value it brings to their lives. They may even love the brand because it feeds their own egos or in marketing communications, advertising, and such as Amazon. The competitive landscape is makes a fashion statement. Whatever the reason, corporate website content. They do trust people growing, and new products are coming to market advocates 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’s some cases, advocates even defend the brand Forrester Research, have validated this existing customers. Smart companies are tapping against criticism and negative feedback. And numerous times. into the collective intelligence of their advocates even 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 successfully subscribers, the conversation with advocates and changing the customer experience for millions about the brand is always authentic. Why? But these claims become more meaningful and of people. In doing so, they’re also strengthening Because 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, and customers; generating referrals; and spreading then amplify those stories, the overall impact positive word of mouth on Facebook, Twitter, for business can be great for sales, awareness, www.britopian.com | @britopian 5
  • 6. THE RISE OF CUSTOMER ADVOCACY Excerpt from Michael Brito’s “Smart Business, Social Business” MEASURING THE REACH OF INFLUENCERS 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 much or blog posts. more business value because through their natural conversations, they are aiding and Advocates, on the other hand, are just as through the purchase funnel. same size community or the same reach that an but this changes if a brand can create customer advocacy and make it the core of a social media marketing strategy. When a company can create an advocate program that taps into the emotions of their customers and empowers them to share their stories across the social web, the aggregate reach of all these conversations becomes exponential. Companies should not completely ignore www.britopian.com | @britopian 6
  • 7. 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