Do you have brand evangelists? Brand evangelists can be a figure within your organization, like a Steve Jobs at Apple, or a Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook.
Brand evangelists can be community members, like customers, partners, or service providers who provide an authentic, human voice that extols the virtues of your brand, service, or product. In the end, brand evangelists are a key component of one of the best sources of advertising, word-of-mouth, or in today’s digital age, word-of-keyboard.
There was a time when a marketing campaign consisted of producing a mass media commercial and telling the audience that the product was the best at what it did. This evolved into a more subtle, physiological approach of showing how the product would benefit you and your basic desires, to become (or at least appear) wealthier, healthier, sexier, happier and efficientier (OK, the last one isn’t a real word).
Customers care about what brand evangelists says.
The mass media approach is still very significant but times are a-changing. After generations of being brought-up with an almost constant stream of commercial messages, consumers are shrewd enough to know the difference between a reliable source of information and a heavily biased commercial one. This is highlighted by the ad blindness which has developed for web users. Brand evangelists are real people, with real experience working with your organization, service, or product.
Brand evangelists helps guide potential customers.
Since pre-historic times, word-of-mouth has been used to promote trade and is still the most trusted form of consumer information. The web has provided new tools to bring consumer knowledge to levels never experienced in history.
Within seconds a consumer can find an independent review of just about any mass-produced product. If one person’s opinion isn’t enough, it is often easy to find the views of many others through forums. It is even possible to get an aggregated score made from the opinions of hundreds of people on anything from a movie to a hotel. Better yet, search engines are experimenting with systems to show the opinions of your friends along with standard results when you search for a product.
With so much more information available to consumers, businesses are turning to their most enthusiastic advocates, the brand evangelists, to spread the good word – and that good word is as good as their brand name.
By doing this, they are ensuring that all of that easily accessible, independent information is full of praise, and backed up by real live socially connected people, the brand evangelists.
Social media outreach extends the influence of brand evangelists and great customer service teams.
Not only does great customer service keep the negativity out of online content, in most cases, positive independent opinions are more compelling than promotional information.
Throughout most of human history products and services have been promoted through word-of-mouth. It is only in the past 100 years that mass-media has surpassed power of the individual. Over the last 20 years the web has brought back brand-affecting marketing power to anyone who runs a blog or website. Now social media is giving everyone who wants it, the power to have a level of influence online. In essence, if you are willing to share your experiences, you’re on your way to becoming part of the community of brand evangelists. Democracy has come to marketing and brand evangelists will be shaping the future.