thought leadership blog on apathy to advocacy

Forget Sales Stunts and Gimmicks; Build Authentic Tribes to Ignite Brand Advocacy

Scott Hauman, VP Strategy and Innovation

Brand advocacy is about forging emotional connections and building community to earn a place in the hearts and minds of your customers. And in today's hyper-competitive, volatile and ambiguous marketplaces, where brands vie for just mere seconds of attention in an ever-cluttered digital space, loyalty is still the surest path to growth.   

But how do you transform fleeting transactions into brand evangelism and unwavering devotion? First, you need to cast aside tired loyalty programs and forget the one-size-fits-all marketing tactics.  

Here are three unconventional strategies that will make your brand magnetic and relevant to your customers:

1. Embrace Vulnerability 

A 2023 study by Edelman found that 63% of consumers want brands to be more transparent about their values and purpose. So, open your vault, share your story, and watch bonds form. We live in a world of curated perfection. People connect with authenticity, not airbrushed facades. Brands need to break this mold and elevate the real by sharing their brand's story and its messy bits – the struggles and the triumphs.  

 2. Celebrate the Everyday Heroes 

In a 2022 survey, Sprout Social discovered that 76% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that recognizes and rewards their loyalty. Most brands shower love on their top influencers and big spenders. But what about the everyday heroes, the silent majority who form the bedrock of your customer base? Celebrate them, feature their stories, highlight their achievements and make them feel valued. So, shine a light on your unsung heroes, and watch their loyalty catch fire.  

3. Personalize the Journey, Not Just the Product 

Sure, you can personalize product recommendations based on purchase history. But go deeper. Remember birthdays, anniversaries, religious preferences and special occasions; offer exclusive experiences or tailor your communications based on individual customer preferences and known cultural connections. These small yet mighty gestures make customers feel valued and seen, fostering a sense of connection that transcends mere transactions.  

Brand advocacy isn't built overnight. It's a slow, multi-year march, a carefully organized trek that gains devotion along each stage of a customer’s journey. These unconventional strategies will enable you to move beyond the transactional and into the realm of the meaningful. You'll build a brand that's not just a product or service but a shared tribe and community for those who resonate with your distinctive belief system. At Hart, we call this intent moving audiences from Apathy to Advocacy. It is a formula for fostering unwavering loyalty that will keep your customers, employees and partners coming back to your value proposition long after the flash sales and discounts have faded away.  

So, go forth and ignite the flames of brand advocacy. Tell your story, champion your stance and build a community where your customers feel they truly belong. Weave your brand's values, purpose and community into compelling narratives that resonate with your audience. Let your customers see themselves as heroes in your brand's story and watch their advocacy flames rise.  

Want to know more about what these trends mean for your organization’s marketing efforts in 2024? Let’s talk!