Brand advocacy is great. Consumers talk about your product or service positively and share information about you online. It’s almost like free marketing. But it’s about trust, too. Generally consumers trust other consumers more than they trust brands. That’s why so many people check the online reviews of products before they choose to buy them. For this reason, moving from loyalty to advocacy should be the long-term goal for every company planning a loyalty strategy. Even if it’s the very early stages of planning one. So how do you transform loyal customers into advocates?

It isn’t an exact science, but the key is to put the customer at the center of the business model. Almost every company in the world that is growing faster than their industry average has done just that. Essentially this means delivering exceptional value and a consistently good experience across channels.

How to move from loyalty to advocacy – it’s about respect

It also means communicating. Brands need permission-based relationships with consumers to establish an omni-channel dialog – out of which engagement may ensue and the opportunity to build a relationship with the brand. The days are over where the brand that shouts the loudest, wins. Social media has opened up a world of new channels to communicate with customers. These should be embraced, so long as the customer isn’t bombarded. Communication needs to be timely, too.

Customer spending in the coming years will not diminish, but it will shift rapidly to companies that treat people with respect and help them achieve their personal goals as efficiently as possible. Rewarding customers is clearly important when moving from loyalty to advocacy. But these rewards need to be valuable ones. It’s also crucial that offers are personalized. Customers will be much more willing to share their personal information if they think it will result in offers that are relevant.

If you give customers what they want, they will respond. Loyalty programs have proven over the years that when meaningful and achievable awards are used to stimulate action, behavior changes. Unfortunately, most loyalty programs miss the mark for the majority of consumers. Often point value is too low (or the point currency is not meaningful), rewards are not interesting, rules are too complicated, or the customer just can’t do enough of the desired action to achieve desired benefits. Even if they want to.

A more useful loyalty currency means more value

At Currency Alliance, we believe that the key to obtaining more loyal customers, and then moving from loyalty to advocacy, is better value for the customer. The idea behind our universal loyalty currency, comcoin, is that customers are able to obtain the same loyalty currency across different brands. A more useful loyalty currency means more value. More value means greater customer satisfaction. Happy customers will think kindly of the brand and desire to earn as much value as possible – by shopping at the store.  More shopping generates better data, which improves engagement. And this engagement can lead to advocacy.

Advocates will talk positively about the brand and their experiences without much incentive.  They will think of the brand first when they have a need within a categories of products or services that the brand offers.  Therefore, moving from loyalty to advocacy should be the key goal of a loyalty strategy. As should measuring all the steps that get customers to this state – so friction can be removed, incentives well placed, and effort reduced to the minimum.

If you would like to talk further, have any comments, or would like information about comcoin and our loyalty enablement capabilities for your loyalty strategy, please get in touch.