How to Harness the 5 Types of Brand Advocates by Caitey Gilchrist Creative

Brand advocates champion your brand. They raise you up through word-of-mouth referrals and add credibility to your products and services. Sounds awesome, right? But where do you find these brand champions, and how do you leverage them to increase your brand’s success? First, you need to be able to identify them.

The 5 Types of Brand Advocates

Brand advocates are all around you and can come from unexpected places.

Brand Advocate #1 - Paid Advocates & Influencers

1. Paid Advocates / Influencers

Paid advocates and influencers can pack a lot of punch for your brand’s strategy. However, they can be out of reach for those who can’t afford their endorsement. Harness paid advocates and influencers for large marketing campaigns and events.

Pros

  • They have an established bond of trust with their audience, which gives their endorsement of your brand a lot of authority.
  • When they share your target market, pairing with an influencer can get your in front of your audience quickly and effectively.

Cons

  • A financial barrier can make these advocates difficult to access.
  • An influencer or celebrity’s endorsement can be polarizing (either you like them or you don’t), which can rub off on your brand.
  • A paid endorsement can come across as inauthentic if your advocate doesn’t truly believe in your brand.

Brand Advocate #2 - Employees & Partners

2. Employees / Partners

When an employee believes in its company, it brings harmony to the workplace and better experiences for your customer. However, they can be difficult to convert into brand advocates if they’ve experienced toxicity in their work environment. Harness employees and partners for internal initiatives, hiring talent and to improve your brand reputation.

Pros

  • They can increase morale and improve the work environment.
  • Endorsements from employees can help attract better talent.

Cons

  • They can be difficult to leverage if the company’s work environment is toxic.
  • Endorsements may come across as biased as they are paid employees of the company.

Brand Advocate #3 - Joint Ventures & Affiliates

3. Joint Ventures / Affiliates

Joint ventures are a powerful way of increasing two or more brands’ authority at once. However, joining with another brand also means you’re adopting a portion of their notoriety, which can cause pressure in light of a scandal. Harness joint ventures for furthering your brand’s core message initiatives, events and long-term partnerships.

Pros

  • Joint ventures give both parties access to a wider audience.
  • These relationships can reinforce your core message.
  • They can also open doors to new opportunities for your brand.

Cons

  • If your joint venture partner’s brand is involved in a PR scandal, your affiliation with them can come into question.
  • Both parties must be willing to support each other equally, otherwise, the joint venture can fall apart.

Brand Advocate #4 - Clients & Fans

4. Clients / Fans

When your clients and fans are happy, they’ll go to bat for your brand. However, their loyalty can falter and cause harm to your brand if they feel mistreated. Harness clients and fans for converting prospects into buyers and for furthering your message.

Pros

  • Testimonials and referrals from clients and fans can help you quickly establish trust with new prospects.
  • Loyal clients and fans may stand behind you during a PR mishap.

Cons

  • Their bond can be fleeting if they don’t feel cared for. Furthermore, perceived injustices can often cause more damage than a positive referral could repair.
  • Receiving their public endorsement can be tricky – if you’d like their advocacy, remember to ask for it.

Brand Advocate #5 - You!

5. You!

That’s right – you are a brand advocate! Remember that everything you say and do will be held against your brand (both good and bad)! Harness your own abilities for building excitement, growing brand loyalty and attracting more brand advocates.

Pros

  • You’re a permanent brand advocate through thick and thin (or at least, you should be)!
  • You’re the most qualified brand advocate out there – you know your business and core message best.

Cons

  • Your audience will recognize that you need to be an advocate for your own brand. Exaggerated enthusiasm may come across as biased.
  • Everything you do will be scrutinized and reflected on your brand.

Who Will Be Your Brand Advocate?

Your brand advocates are waiting for you! Some will emerge on their own, others will need a gentle nudge to share their excitement. All of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. When forming your team of champions, remember to draft a mix of brand advocates to help you with different areas of growth. And remember, you already have one of the best brand advocates on your team – you!

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