Creating More Loyal Advocates

Last week we looked at ways to drive up productivity in driving up marketing productivity Over the next few weeks we will look at other ways to create more loyal advocates.

An alternative approach to create more loyal advocates is to improve PAR & BAR scores by improving the critical touchpoints across customer path from awareness to advocacy. To overcome each of the four potential bottlenecks that normally occur across the five A’s, marketers need a set of strategies and tactics. 

Each solution set aims at addressing the underlying problem that keeps customers from moving forward to the next stage. Today I will look at two ways in turn.

If most customers do not find a brand appealing although they are familiar with it, then the brand has an attraction problem. This problem may come from the product that the brand represents or from the brand itself. When the actual product’s value propositions are not attractive, even a clever brand campaign and a huge budget may not help. Poor brand communications execution may also cause low attraction, even though the actual value propositions are superior.

So, what makes a brand appealing nowadays? In the digital age where customers are surrounded by technology-based interaction, brands that are humanized become the most appealing. Consumers are increasingly looking for human-centric brands – brands whose characters resemble those of humans and are capable of interacting with consumers as equal friends.

Some consumers are attracted to brands that uphold strong social and environmental values. These brands are practicing Marketing 3.0 (ie purpose led) and provide feel-good factors for consumers. A brand like The Body Shop is delivering sociocultural transformation. It promotes social justice in many ways; empowerment of women, fair trade, and employee diversity. Since the death of the founder Anita Roddick, however, it has somewhat lost its ‘activism’ appeal. To revive the brand, on its 40thbirthday it launched its “Enrich not exploit” campaign. It aimed to attract hard-core consumers who actively support the brand’s mission as well as consumers who feel good buying such a socially responsible brand.

Another example is BRI, which actively creates bottom of the pyramid entrepreneurs to alleviate poverty. As the world’s largest micro-lender and also Indonesia’s most profitable bank, it pursues this mission seriously. The bank recently acquired and launched its own satellite – the first bank in the world to do so—which enables it to better serve customers all over the country, especially the entrepreneurial poor in remote areas. Timberland is another leading example. The outdoor-lifestyle brand recently pledged to plant 10 million trees (cumulatively, since 2001) and use renewable sources to supply half of its facilities’ energy requirements.

Tesla is another example of a lifestyle brand that has wide appeal. Consumers are waiting in line for a couple of years to get their Tesla. With the Steve Jobs like persona of Elon Musk, the brand tells appealing stories about the future of cars and the sustainable energy movement. A brand like Tesla provides consumers a platform on which to express themselves. For consumers, owning a Tesla is about both having a great experience and making a statement of who they are.

Many customers may also be attracted to brands that are able to personalize their products and services to meet consumers’ exact needs. We are living in a world where demand is fragmented and the market is heterogeneous. In a simple fashion McDonalds championed the trend of customization by launching its premium service over the last few years.

It is important for a brand to have authentic differentiation that brings strong appeal. The more bold, audacious and unorthodox the differentiation is, the greater the brand’s appeal is.

George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon provides one of the simplest definition of curiosity: the feeling of deprivation that comes from an information gap between what we know and what we want to know. 

In marketing, curiosity comes from providing consumers with appealing knowledge without giving too much away. Thus, creating curiosity involves an approach known as content marketing: a set of activities of creating and distributing content that is relevant to the lives of consumers but also strongly associated with a certain brand.

In some cases, the brand is obvious and is the one driving the traffic toward the contents. Examples of this include General Electric, which provides content that involves science. 

In other cases, consumers often come across certain content that they find interesting while browsing and watching the Internet. Upon exploring the content further, they may discover that a certain brand is the one behind the intriguing content and may ultimately come to appreciate the brand. GE’s sci-fi podcast The Message and its online magazine Txchnologist are example of this.

To capitalize on curiosity, good marketers make content readily available whenever consumers look for it. It should be ‘searchable’ and ‘shareable’. Google introduced what it calls the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), a pre-purchase phase in which consumers curiously search for and process more information. It precedes the first interaction with a brand or what it calls First Moment of Truth. Research that Google conducted revealed that ‘searching online’ and ‘talking to friends and family’ are the top two sources of ZMOT. It is the role of marketers to ensure that when consumers search online or ask their friends and family, their brands show up in a convincing way.

CMO Perspective: Ros King – Lloyds Bank

Given one in four people suffer from mental health problems at some point in their life, it really shouldn’t be such a taboo topic. But in order to remove the stigma people have got to stop suffering in silence. This was the ultimate goal of Lloyds Bank’s ‘#GetTheInsideOut’ campaign, which launched earlier this year on Time To Talk Day after winning Channel 4’s annual £1m Diversity in Advertising Award.

The campaign, which was created by adam&eveDDB, features an array of famous faces including Professor Green, Jeremy Paxman, Rachel Riley and Alex Brooker, as well as members of the public and Lloyds staff, playing a guessing game with sticky notes on their foreheads. But instead of celebrities’ names, the players have to describe non-visible health conditions such as bipolar, bulimia and anxiety, to help break down barriers and get people talking.

At the time of launch, Lloyds’ director of marketing communications, Ros King, told Marketing Week: “If you’d broken your leg, you wouldn’t mind telling everyone; if you have a physical illness, there’s no stigma in talking about it. It’s such a shame that people with mental health issues – which is one in four of everybody – feel like they can’t talk to people and then people can’t help them.”

The response to the campaign has also been overwhelmingly positive. Beyond the TV ad, Lloyds encouraged people to get talking on social by sharing a picture of themselves wearing a sticky note with the hashtag #GetTheInsideOut, which was again picked up by a number of celebrities helping to spread the message further. A tweet by vlogger Zoella, for example, was shared more than 1,700 times, and the hashtag #GetTheInsideOut has been used in more than 10,000 Twitter posts and is still being used 10 months later.

The campaign is part of Lloyds’ partnership with Mental Health UK, which it has been working with since the beginning of 2017. Site traffic for Mental Health UK increased by 256% during the campaign period, and so far the group has raised more than £6.5m, smashing its target of £2m a year.

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