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Creating Brand Advocacy

Steve Jobs famously said in 1997 that “marketing was all about values”. An idea shared by many marketing thought leaders including Simon Sinek‘s ‘Start with Why’ approach to brand positioning.

Right now, in 2013, CMO’s are faced with a number of tough challenges. Multiple customer touch points, the rise in demand for inbound marketing, the need to become the thought leader though content marketing, Marketing automation, CRM, campaign tracking and reporting… and the list goes on.

But there’s something that has not changed. The need to define what our brand stands for. Who are we and should anyone give a toss?

Apples brand came to power on the back of a simple idea ‘Think Different’. It became the bedrock for their game changing products/ marketing/ packaging/ everything they did. It made them because people brought into the same idea.So right now there’s a question to ask. Why would anyone what a relationship with your brand? It’s not because your cheap, feature rich, serviced focused. It’s because you share a mutual idea with your customers; a shared believe.

This brings me onto the topic of the post. Brand Advocacy – the idea of social medias most influencial, talking favourably about your brand. Recently I’ve been looking at some tools that claim to help support the idea of ‘Brand Advocacy’. Tools that help you identify, track and provide¬†you top influencers with content they can share to your target audience.

Sounds good doesn’t it. Highly influencial, trusted Social media peers in your target market promoting your brand so you don’t have to? But before you start evaluation the technology that are making the claims to get you their, take some time to consider why anyone would want anything to do with your brand. What is your why?

You will not be able to achieve social brand advocacy without it.

Think about it. Humanising your brand and proving you give a damn about your customers makes you approachable and it wins interest from those that need something of value to talk about – your influencers, your advocates.

Here’s a great example. Nike make training shoes, but they never talk about it. Their brand is seen on the feet of Olympians & Champions giving them the right to talk about performance, sacrifice, motivation, commitment in fact a whole bunch of ideas that an aspiring or amature sports person might find attractive. They don’t talk about air pockets.

So how does this relate to B2B marketing? We still see software companies competing on functionality (air pockets) when they could be talking about empowerment. The B2B marketing landscape is more defined and better organised than ever before. We have the ability to talk to smaller number of people thanks to social media and big data and we have the ability to respond to our customers quickly and sociably. It just makes sence that  B2B brands need to reflect this human face in order that they can engage as a real person with real people.

Your prospects are tired of emails promoting half baked content. They get their content from people now, not publications. People they know, like and trust. They join groups on LinkedIn to stay ahead of the job market and listen into topics related to their interests. They follow tweets from those they trust – These are their influencers and it’s where (if your raison d’etre is attractive enough) you’ll find your Brand advocates.

Further reading
If you’re like me an believe Brand advocacy could be the future for B2B IT marketing try the references Below. Or if you’d like to speak to someone about how your IT brand can gain the interest of your market influencers please get in touch

Minda Zetlin – Turn customers into your best salespeople

Ekaterina Walter – Brand Advocacy (see below)

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