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New Study: Brand Advocacy is Key to Amplification of Marketing Campaigns and Building a ‘Passion Brand’

Recent research suggests that 80% of reach from marketing campaigns now comes from amplification through advocacy. This means that whether or not satisfied customers are inspired to take that extra step and share their positive feelings about a brand can truly make or break a marketing effort.

In other words, brands that don’t generate substantial advocacy may end up paying more to market less efficiently than those that successfully make advocacy a priority.

This is at the heart of a new study conducted by Social@Ogilvy, which analyzed 7 million brand social mentions across 4 countries (Brazil, China, UK, US) and 22 brands to analyze the key drivers of advocacy. Partnering with Social@Ogilvy for the study were CIC, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Visible Technologies.

What the study found is that despite the enormous potential value, “brands are failing at driving satisfied customers to share in social media,” said Irfan Kamal, global head of Data+Analytics and Products at Social@Ogilvy. “Our study suggests that the vast majority of satisfied customers are not publicly advocating for brands on social platforms. Brands have not provided the technology, incentives or content that both inspire and enable customers to speak out positively. To help close the gap, brands must help facilitate advocacy volume, reward passion and amplify reach.”

According to the data collected, advocacy mentions represented about 15% of all brand mentions, with the remainder being either neutral or negative mentions. However, nowhere was the gap between satisfied customers and advocacy more pronounced than in the US hotel category — the study found less than one advocacy mention per 100 stays, even though some of the hotels studied boasted guest satisfaction scores of 80% or more. The takeaway? The vast majority of people satisfied with their experiences aren’t advocating online.

So what can brands do? According to Social@Ogilvy, the first step is understanding what actually drives advocacy. The following is quoted directly from the study.

● Where advocacy is concerned, features trump emotion.
Features were the #1 driver of advocacy in every country studied, and deserve the most attention. We looked at advocacy mentions of ads, benefits, features, deals/savings and customer service. In all markets, features (for example, the characteristics of skin cream) were the most often mentioned. In comparison, mentions of ads/commercials typically garnered the fewest mentions.

● Advocacy can occur anywhere; no category is too “boring.”
Of the 22 brands we looked at, the five with the highest advocacy % included 2 hotels, 2 skin care brands and 1 fashion retailer. One instant coffee brand came in among the top 10. It’s a myth that people only advocate in specific categories.

With these findings in mind, Social@Ogilvy recommends taking the following steps to building a “passion brand”:

● Identify and use your brand’s differentiated advocacy drivers.
Two of the highest advocacy brands, even when compared to movies, were Kimpton and Kiehls in the US. However, there are significant differences in what drives the higher levels of passion when compared to category averages: for Kiehls, it’s features, while for Kimpton, it’s benefits and customer service.

● Close the advocacy gap by encouraging and enabling advocacy everywhere.

When implementing this last step, the study points out the importance of facilitating and encouraging advocacy across each of a brand’s key advocacy groups: topic influencers, loyal customers and casual fans.

To help consolidate and clearly demonstrate the key findings, Social@Ogilvy created the below infographic. To read the full study or learn about the tools Ogilvy has created to help brands encourage advocacy, click here.

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