3 Ways To Build Brand Advocacy
Brand advocacy starts internally, provide a flat and open structure for feedback
Open up communication channels in all areas to let staff know they can provide feedback on all and any areas of the business. Allow them to share ideas, provide constructive criticism and what they loved about the content, campaigns or marketing assets put out.
Staff should be able to access anyone in the business including directors, support teams and most importantly each other. Communication channels should include all ways that might provide those opportunities to open up the conversation: Facebook groups, email, phone, face to face meetings quarterly, surveys, Slack or internal chat groups etc. Offering many avenues for conversation mean more people will engage and provide their feedback. The more feedback you can get the more you can shape content and communication around what the staff are telling you. More minds are always better than one or just a few!
Not only is feedback important but the need for psychological safety in the broader business and in teams is what sets the scene for really productive work. Creating psychological safety is all about building trust over time with people, ensuring there is true diversity in teams, actively listening to what people have to say and having an approachable attitude. brand advocacy
Giving feedback is important but the way in which we receive it is also important. The way we respond can make or break trust with people, so be open to receiving helpful feedback that enables your own growth. Understanding the hierarchies are only in our minds and that in the human sense, we are all on equal footing, so allowing feedback from all people across the organisation and receiving it gracefully will help build the psychological safety that is needed for a strong team. brand advocacy
Challenge the way things have always been done, don’t just accept the status quo, recreate it
Whatever industry you’re in or however long your business has been in existence it’s key to challenge the norms, try something different, test and learn.
When I worked for LUSH we used our staff in all of our windows and our content creation. We DID NOT photoshop people’s skin, hair or bodies ever. We wanted to represent people exactly how they are, we wanted to challenge the idea of beauty that has been so ‘perfect’ instead of loving and accepting ‘imperfections.’ We wanted to challenge the unattainable beauty that is seen across fashion, beauty and retail. We wanted to encourage conversation about what beauty is and what we want to accept and see in the world.
This campaign was created to challenge the status quo and recreate the narrative. While LUSH reached 10 million people and saw a huge uptick in sales for that month, it wasn’t the point and those things were just the byproduct of telling a powerful story.
Recently, my sister and I launched our own business called ARNAonline. We launched it with the mission to empower women to make bold decisions and our vision is to change the stories women see and tell about themselves in society. With this in mind, it is good to be aware that recent studies have shown that there is 208 years until we can expect to see gender parity and there are currently more Andrew’s as CEOS in Australia in the top 100 companies than there are women. So, we have our work cut out for us… We are telling women’s stories and we will be launching our first campaign in early 2020 talking about the #boldmoves women have made and need to make in order to move gender parity forward faster.
We are actively challenging businesses, women and men to acknowledge and be accountable for their behaviours and the behaviours that are holding us back to reach equality. We all need to work together to get there AND we can! brand advocacy
Challenging ideas, social norms or trying something new can be risky but can pay off by building trust and a tribe of people that really care and align with your values.
Continue to stand up for what you believe in
When taking risks or testing out a new concept or idea, it’s always important that your business values align with what you’re putting out into the world. When or if people don’t agree or there is backlash, it is okay to continue to stand by your values and choices.
There is a time and place to push back or be a gentle activist on an important issue, there’s also a time and place to step back and apologies if you’ve been flat out wrong.
Transparency is always key, be open about where you stand and even when you’ve been wrong as it continues to build trust if people can see you’re accountable.
All of these ideas point to building trust both internally and externally. Be transparent, stand up for what you believe in and be open to feedback