While they are often used as the same thing, brand loyalty and brand advocacy are not the same. You can have people that are loyal to the brand without advocating it, advocates who are not loyal, or both.
Now, what's the difference between someone who is loyal to your brand and someone who is an advocate?
An example of a brand loyal consumer is an Apple fan. True Apple fans will happily upgrade to the latest iPhone as soon as it gets released. In contrast with other consumers who don’t have the same level of loyalty and would just wait until they need the upgrade.
There are three main reasons for a consumer to be loyal:
- Brand attraction: they like your brand or your products.
- Necessity: they are loyal because they don’t really have another option. Take for example internet providers: some people will be loyal to a provider over another just because its network is stronger in their area.
- Accessibility: you are the easier option, for example, the local grocery store is much closer and easy to reach than the big store that’s further away.
Advocates spread the word about you and your product in a positive way and they are often seen as “experts” for objective recommendations.
Advocates are happy to recommend you, share your content and spread the word about you. Even when they are not current consumers.
Advocacy is a “no strings attached” kind of thing, advocates don’t really get anything out of it. This makes it a really unbiased source of information about you.
The main reasons why advocates like to spread the word about you in a positive way are:
- To bring value to another person: a brand advocate can share content about you to bring value to a conversation. For instance, when a friend/follower is asking for a recommendation or just talking about your industry.
- To grow and cultivate relationships: they want to nourish their own relations. Advocates may share content about you because it enables them to stay connected to people they might otherwise not stay in touch with.
- To feel involved: they share information about you because it allows them to feel more involved in their world. A marketer who’s an advocate for a marketing company might share the latest news about the company, to show the world that they are involved in the industry.
- To support: they share content to support a good cause.
As a brand, you want most of your clients to be loyal but you also want as many advocates as possible. The benefits of transforming your clients into advocates are limitless:
Now, the big question is: are you willing go the extra mile with your customers to turn them from brand advocates? If you are, get in touch with us. We would love to help you make it happen.