How valuing real people and real connections can help to drive brand engagement and growth – latest thinking from Ellie
It’s no longer about influencers, but about advocates: real people who organically engage with your brand authentically on a deeper level. Not because they are paid to or their career depends upon it; not because it will gain them followers or freebees, but because they want to.
Although brands such as L’Oreal in 2016 recognised the ‘power of people’ and developed a squad of ‘true advocates’ in the UK: they also just happened to have a combined reach of more than 5 million viewers! Similarly, whilst Iceland Air have understood the need to bring a human touch to their brand by leveraging ‘advocacy’ through their employee ‘buddy system’; such a strategy relies on those already employed by the brand, and therefore likely biased.
The type of advocacy that is cutting through and helping brands to connect on a deeper, more personal and ‘real’ level, are those harnessing open and honest conversations with consumers. Top-down communications from brand to consumers are out- and 2- way shared dialogues are in.
Brands which welcome and acknowledge reviews (good or bad), feedback and product showcasing from consumers such as Frank body are generating brand engagement and love as consumers are invited to use a range of sharable hashtags and rituals to showcase their real- world product experiences online. Taking this a step further, brands such as NYX Cosmetics not only place advocates at the heart of their marketing and engagement strategy, but also at the centre of their product development: creating products in response to advocates wants and needs, not simply developing products, then trying to convince them of such wants and needs.
So what does this mean for brands going forwards?
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