Consumers build trust and confidence in brands through positive and exceptional experiences they have with the products, services, or the brands themselves. As people become loyal advocates of brands, they tell friends and colleagues how their favorite brands offer beneficial or unique features, provide excellent customer service, deliver consistent quality, and meet their expectations. These personal recommendations by word of mouth and through social media platforms can influence others to try new products or services since the advise is from a trusted source. Brand advocacy can set expectations on how a product will perform, meet a need, fit our budget, or rank against other brands especially if noteworthy ambassadors promote the products and services.
During a group run on Mt. Tam this weekend, friends started chatting about various brands of technical running shoes and gear. There are specific popular and recognized brands that are familiar to a particular network or community of runners (ultrarunners). Although each person has his/her own personal experience with different brands, we often find out that people we know have similar needs and experiences that influence and lead us to trying a new brands, products or services.
As the conversation continued to focus on shoes and other gear, people exchanged insight into the details of why they like certain brands and products. I mentioned that several brands are doing both a web and social media promotion during the holidays, and it is an optimal time to purchase products since some brands rarely offer discounts or the product may be hard to find at retail. By seeing the actual product and learning what friends and followers think about the brand, there is a higher probability that someone will purchase a product or service compared to just looking at a website or print ad. Someone even mentioned writing reviews for the products that you like and be a brand advocate. Most runners are not really influencers who expect incentives for promoting their favorite brands unless you are a sponsored athlete.
Brand advocacy through word of mouth from trusted friends and followers that transitions to social media engagement can benefit the sales and success of a business as well as the brand.