Driving From Awareness To Advocacy

Last week we looked at the 5A’s in mapping the consumer path throughout the 5A’s Today we delve into how we drive our brands from Awareness to Advocacy. The ultimate goal of Marketing 4.0 is to adopt new shifts, undertake new frameworks and to amplify new applications. In the shift from a traditional to digital path it is to drive consumers from awarenessto advocacy

In general, there are three main sources of influence marketers can use to do so. A consumer’s decisions across the five A’s are usually influenced by a combination of their owninfluence, others’influence, and outerinfluence. Let us call them the ‘O’ Zone (O3). 

The outerinfluence comes from external sources. It is purposely initiated by brands through advertising and other marketing communications. It may also come from other consumer interfaces such as sales force and customer service staff. From a brand’s standpoint, outerinfluence is still manageable and controllable. The message, the media, and the frequency can be planned. The overall consumer touchpoints can be designed, although the resulting consumer perceptions may still vary depending on how satisfactory the experience is.

Similarly, others’ influence also comes from the external environment. Typically, it comes from a close circle of friends and family as word of mouth. Others’ influence can also come from a broader but independent community to which consumers belong. For example, consumers may be influenced by conversations they heard on social networking platforms.

Consumers may also be influenced by communal rating systems such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. Not all sources of others’ influence are equal. Among many segments, the youth, women, and netizens (YWN) are the most influential. Others’ influence coming from them is often the major driver of purchase.

Despite a brand’s effort, it is essentially difficult to manage and control the outcome of others’ influence. The only way for a brand to do so is through community marketing. Companies cannot directly control the conversation within the community, but they may facilitate discussion with the help of loyal consumers.

On the other hand, owninfluence comes from within oneself. It is a result of past experience and interaction with several brands, personal judgment and evaluation of the brands, and ultimately individual preference toward the chosen brand(s). Often, personal preference (own) is swayed toward certain brands by word of mouth (others’) and advertising (outer). Indeed, the three major sources of influence are always intertwined.

Outer influence often reaches consumers first. If a brand successfully triggers conversation with Outer influence, it is usually followed by others’ influence. Ultimately, the way these two sources of influence interact will shape consumers’ owninfluence.

A great way to do this is for a brand to use its purpose to have a positive impact on culture, enabling the message to scale in a personalised way that adds real value for users.

Please refer to the Smirnoff campaign that brought this approach to life at Smirnoff Equalizer

Any particular consumer is usually influenced by all three types, albeit with different proportions. Some consumers have stronger personal preferences and are not influenced too much by an advertisement or a friend’s recommendation. 

Some rely heavily on the recommendation of others, and some believe in the advertisers. Despite individual variations, today’s consumers rely more on others’ influence than their ownand outerinfluence for reasons we have previously discussed. Research by Nielsen in 2017 reveals that 83 percent of respondents in 60 countries rely on friends and family as the most trusted source of “advertising,” and 66 percent pay attention to the opinions of others posted online.

Across the five A’s, consumers are most open to influence during the ask andact stages. In ask, consumers seek advice and absorb as much information as possible from others’ and outerinfluence with regard to a short list of brands. The ask stage serves as a window of opportunity for marketers to increase brand favorability. In act, consumers shape their own perception of brands over time. Since they are no longer wary of outerpressure to buy at this stage, they have an open mindset. Brands that offer stronger consumer experience during consumption and usage will be preferred brands 

The level of experience that consumers have also determines their consumer path. First-time buyers of a product category typically go through the entire five A’s and rely a lot on outer influence. Thus, many first-time buyers end up buying brands with the highest share of voice.

As they become more experienced after a few rounds of purchase, they rely more on others’, sometimes skip the appealstage, and perhaps switch brands. The most experienced consumers usually have stronger owninfluence. When they have finally found their favorite brands, they will skip most stages in the five A’s and continue to use the brands perpetually until the brands disappoint them.

The O3 is therefore a tool that helps marketers to optimize their marketing efforts. When marketers manage to identify the importance of outerothers’, and owninfluence, they will be able to decide which activities to focus on.

When outer influence is more important than the rest, marketers can focus more on marketing communications activities. On the other hand, when others’ influence is the most important, marketers should rely on community marketing activities. But when owninfluence is the most important, marketers should put more emphasis on building the post-purchase consumer experience.

In the digital economy, consumer path should be redefined as the five A’s – aware, appealaskact, and advocate —which reflect the connectivity among consumers. The concept of Marketing 4.0 ultimately aims to drive consumers from awareness to advocacy. In doing so, marketers should leverage three main sources of influence— ownothers’, and outer influence.

CMO Perspective: Neil Shah – Smirnoff

Smirnoff is on a mission to accelerate gender parity in the music industry by 2020 through ‘Equalising Music’, a three-year global initiative tasked with doubling the number of female and female-identifying headliners, and inspiring the next generation of female DJs.

After discovering that none of the top 10 most streamed tracks on Spotify in 2017 were performed by female artists or bands, the vodka brand decided it was time to redress the balance.

Launching in support of International Women’s Day in March, the Smirnoff Equaliser analysed users’ listening habits via their Spotify account, providing them with a percentage breakdown of the number of male versus female artists they listen to.

To achieve an equalised playlist listeners were able to move a slider within the Spotify app to increase the number of female artists.

As well as allowing listeners to discover more female artists, Equaliser directly affected Spotify’s business model because the more streams an artist receives the bigger their fanbase becomes and the more opportunities they have to perform.

Smirnoff’s objectives were to drive awareness of the gender bias in music and enable users to take action by tracking visits to the Equaliser, paid impressions and earned reach. Engagement was also assessed by looking at the number of people generating and sharing their own playlists.

Equaliser created a tangible change in listening habits. Following the launch of the campaign there was a 52% increase in the number of female artists being streamed through Spotify, with Equaliser creating 2.7 million opportunities for female artists to be discovered.

Neil Shah, Smirnoff global marketing director, described the Equaliser campaign as an example of a brand being clear about how to use its purpose to have a positive impact on culture, while partnering with Spotify enabled the message to scale in a personalised way that added real value for users.

Back to Blog

Get Mark's thought-provoking exploration straight into your inbox