Advocacy Marketing

What Is a Brand Advocate and Their Important Impact

October 22, 2021
Stacy Wells

Brand advocates are those who actively promote, endorse, and recommend a business or its products to others.

From social media to online review sites, today's consumers have more ways than ever before to get and give information on the products they buy and their services. Case in point, more than three-quarters of shoppers rely heavily on recommendations from family and friends to guide purchasing decisions.

Brand enthusiasts provide many of the product suggestions and endorsements. The role and impact of individuals who advocate for a company are becoming more critical as well as more common. 

Brand enthusiasts provide many of the product suggestions and endorsements. Individuals who promote a business play an increasingly essential and impactful role. In the marketing lexicon, these individual champions are called "brand advocates."

This article will cover the basics of a brand advocate, including:

  • Brand advocate definition
  • The importance of advocacy
  • The three types of advocates
  • Advocates salary

What Is a Brand Advocate?

A brand advocate is someone who openly supports, endorses, and recommends a company or its product to other individuals and groups. 

Often companies don't even need to ask for brand advocates. If companies do great things and take care of customers, people will self-appoint themselves as brand advocates.

When people look to others and listen to endorsements and recommendations, they rely on brand advocates.  

Another brand advocate definition is a person who goes above and beyond to spread the word about the companies and products they adore. Advocates have a powerful ability for word-of-mouth marketing, and many businesses are starting to recognize this.

Why Are Brand Advocates Important?

Working with brand advocates gives companies a method to influence and guide people's conversations.

Every business faces the challenge of getting its products in front of customers. And advertising is a go-to marketing strategy that we use regularly. However, according to HubSpot, 75% of consumers do not trust advertisements. That doesn't bode very well for companies.

It's not that people are just cynics. They do believe recommendations from friends and family, just not ads. They trust nine out of ten or almost every single product suggestion they hear from people they know. 

Another credible source is customer reviews, which 70% of consumers say they believe.

HubSpot reports that:

90% trust suggestions from family and friends. In addition, 70% of people say that they trust consumer reviews.

Brand advocates bridge the trust gap for companies! 

Advocates serve as living testimonials to your company's value. They don't promote your company development because you pay them to; they do it willingly and spontaneously. This is precisely why brand endorsements from advocates are the most honest and helpful.

Expanding brand recognition, customer loyalty, and business growth are additional reasons to incorporate brand advocates into your business plan. 

Three Types of Brands Advocates

A common way to organize brand advocates is by their function and characteristics. They usually fit nicely into three main categories.

What are the 3 types of brand advocates?

  • Customers 
  • Employees
  • Influencers

Customer Brand Advocates

Loyal customers ordinarily rave about their experiences with a business. Individuals who love a company talk about it. They have a natural affinity for the brand and, as a result, spread the word about it to their social network.

They naturally connect with the brand and spread word-of-mouth recommendations to their friends and family without even thinking about it.

Happy customers make extraordinary brand advocates. 

Employees Brand Advocates

Who knows a company better than the employees? For obvious reasons, people who work at a company serve as fantastic brand advocates. Not only can employees explain all kinds of product knowledge, but they can also help recruit new team members. 

Don't overlook the impact of your employee brand advocates. They can be remarkable marketers and salespeople, as well as employment recruiters. 

Influencers as Brand Advocates

This is where things can get a bit confusing. 

Influencer marketing no longer works with a one-size-fits-all strategy. Instead, companies are developing programs to harness the collective power of all of their supporters. 

Brand advocates are a subset of influencers. There is power in genuine impact, not just in the number of social media followers.

Influencer software platforms, such as Wooly, turn your biggest fans into authentic advocates for your brand. 

A company's brand advocates might include everyone from its customers to its employees to industry influencers. In comparison to costly advertising, advocates enable businesses to get their messages out much more effectively.

Are Brand Advocates Paid?

Brand advocates are part of grassroots marketing who develop trust with their audience. Because of the uniqueness of the relationships and results, it's difficult for companies to replicate them.

Typically advocates are not paid directly to promote a business. Instead, they donate their time, opinions, and expertise free of charge.

However, businesses often reward and pay advocates. They get a range of sought-after benefits. Following is a list of popular brand advocate incentives. 

  • Product discounts
  • Free stuff 
  • Gift cards
  • Prizes
  • Special offers
  • Featured by company
  • Sponsorship
  • Exclusive products
  • Newest products
  • Product development
  • Insider access
  • Live events
  • Virtual events
  • Salary
  • Long-term partnership

Nurturing Brand Advocates

The most successful brand advocacy programs are not left to chance. They are designed and managed with care, often with expert guidance.

Influencer marketing software and applications curate advocates and activities for companies and their employees. The usage of these technologies also makes tracking advocacy nearly effortless. Also, structure and incentives support advocating for a brand more appealing. 

The brand advocate is someone who truly loves a company or the products it offers. They increase brand awareness and revenue by interacting authentically with potential customers. 

In the end, a brand advocate is an extension of a company and, more importantly, a long-term ally.

Feature photo courtesy of @hydroflask brand advocate @kenna_norland.

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