Brand Loyalist? or Brand Advocate?

Word-of-Mouth-PicThe Affluent Perspective 2016 Global Study by YouGov revealed the luxury purchasing trends of affluent households, and lead to a discussion about the differences between advocacy and loyalty.

Surprisingly, brand loyalty is actually higher in millenials than in other groups. And while brand loyalty relates directly to purchasing, advocacy takes it one step further where people are more engaged with the product and brand. “Advocacy is the result of the journey to personal freedom. Advocacy is not loyalty. Advocates want to be experts, and you need to give them something to share and talk about.”

In terms of sectors, advocacy is highest in auto and dining but lowest in jewelry
and apparel. This makes sense if we think about how often people go to restaurants based on what their friends and families recommend, as well as by reading reviews online. Advocates are the ones who write those reviews and they keep up to date on the brand, reading marketing emails and retaining information on brand news and trends.

Consistently purchasing certain brands online can be seen as brand loyalty, while advocates enjoy the in-store experience and the face to face contact.

So which ones do brands need to focus on?

The answer is not surprising: both.

It’s important for brands to create a loyal customer base, offering discounts and programs that reward consistent purchases. But it’s equally important for them to retweet a customer speaking about their product, and sharing reviews from their advocates. Loyalty may be a brand’s bread and butter, but advocacy is their plate and knife. Without remembering to foster and create a community of advocates, brands will soon find themselves using their media spend and staff to create content and a reputation that should have been earned organically.


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