Unlocking brand advocacy: is content the key?

Inspiring brand advocacy and loyalty is a major preoccupation for marketers, given its potential to increase customer lifetime value. But in a ferociously competitive online market – with thousands of websites to choose from to purchase any given product – how can retailers turn casual shoppers into vocal champions beyond standard content creation?

Recent research from Global Web Index (GWI) uncovers some interesting insights about advocacy behaviours and drivers, focusing specifically on affluent consumers (defined as internet users aged 16-64 who fall into the top quintile of GWI’s social grading segmentation).

GWI’s report reveals that direct, easily accessible communication is important to this engaged audience: 15% have interacted with a brand on a messaging app in the last month, and 17% have used a company’s website live chat in the same period.

Given this segment’s desire to talk directly to brands, it’s unsurprising, then, that 37% of affluent consumers would promote a brand to their networks when they have received great customer service. Meanwhile, the importance of personalisation is reinforced by the finding that 22% would promote a brand if they feel they have a personal or one-on-one relationship with the company.

Interestingly, it appears that affluent consumers genuinely value feeling like they are part of an exclusive club or somehow ‘in the know’. 23% would promote a brand if they feel they have ‘insider knowledge’ about the company or its products, while 20% would do so if given access to exclusive content or services.

Here are our key takeaways from the research:

1. Don’t underestimate the importance of website messaging and chat functions

Companies are increasingly turning to AI and chatbots to provide front-line customer service on their ecommerce sites. This makes lots of sense as an efficiency-driver. However, these bots should be carefully managed to ensure they are brand-compliant (reflecting your brand’s unique tone voice), explicitly sign-posted (so it’s made clear to the customer that they are speaking to a bot, to avoid damaging trust), and equipped to refer users on to human channels when they can’t provide an answer or the query is too complex.

Szymon Klimczak, CMO of LiveChat, comments: “In 2017, companies were more focused on the information that chatbots provide to customers rather than their conversational skills. However, this year businesses will look at ‘the tone of voice’ to use chatbots not only in sales but also to deepen relations with customers and support the company’s communication strategy.”

2. Excellent Primary Content is critical to delivering a positive customer experience

The ‘customer experience’ extends to every interaction and touch point the customer has with a brand – and this includes the Primary Content they view and consume while shopping on-site. Online product descriptions need to be detailed, accurate, on-brand and informative, answering all of the customer’s questions, and buying and how-to guides should be provided to help consumers make informed purchase decisions from large product ranges.

Our own research, based on a survey of 100 UK consumers, shows that:

36% of consumers agree that retailers who provide great advice are more trustworthy, and thus more likely to display brand advocacy.
22% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer if it offers helpful how-to guides, while 34% are more likely to return and make a purchase later.

3. Personalisation and exclusivity = an effective combination

Investing in personalised content (and making it feel exclusive) are effective tools for driving brand advocacy and loyalty amongst affluent segments – and this is particularly worth bearing in mind as tactics like loyalty cards become increasingly outmoded (see: Tesco’s recent woes).

Given this appetite for personalisation, brands are likely to now start focusing on more tailored ways of nurturing customer relationships – looking at customer behavioural data to understand preferences and interests, and thereby build tailored experiences both online (for example, in the form of personalised website design, content and navigation elements) and offline, for example, in the form of exclusive, invite-only in-store experiences and events.

Commenting on this trend in the context of conversational commerce and the rise of voice-powered assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Andy Maury, CEO and co-founder of Automat, said:

“Whether via messaging platforms, smart speakers or email, marketers will be able to leverage new tools to have ongoing conversations with their customers. Brands who successfully deliver hyper-personalised content and product recommendations via these channels will build stronger relationships with consumers across the home, in-store and mobile.”

To find out more about how Quill can help you use content to drive brand advocacy and customer loyalty, please out the form below to request a call-back.

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