But true brand advocacy usually happens organically. The most ardent fans are responding to an authentically positive brand experience. Can a marketer accelerate the process? Here are a few principles that work for many companies.
1. Start inside
The best programs work from the inside out. After all, if employees aren’t brand advocates, how can they help customers get there? Starbucks has an inspiring model. It recognizes that each store manager essentially runs a small business, so it has invested heavily in a “Leadership Lab,” an intensive training experience featured at a recent conference for about 9,600 Starbucks managers. Think pep rally on steroids.
2. Empower staff
The most successful employers give their staff the license to make on-the-spot decisions, like waiving an airline penalty or approving a retail markdown. These moves can engender the kind of instant, and highly shareable, gratitude that is usually the first step towards evangelism. Don’t we always want to tell our friends when we scored a freebie or an upgrade?
3. Make it social