Today’s post-pandemic world has left businesses with smaller advertising budgets and a larger need to build brand loyalty to drive real growth in 2021. In addition to these new circumstances that businesses are operating under, consumer behavior trends show that Millennials and Gen Z prioritize brands that communicate with meaning and purpose — something the consumer can relate to and get behind. For these consumers, trust and deeper connections hold more value than lower prices and convenience.
It is safe to say the events of the past year have redefined what is important to the everyday consumer. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 68% of consumers believe businesses should weigh in when it comes to societal and community issues and 65% of consumers agree CEOs should hold themselves accountable to the public, not just internal stakeholders. This data shows there is an expectation that consumers have for brands to share their voice and build accountability and trust with their audience.
We’ve identified several ways your business can build and nurture relationships with your consumers to turn them into a network of brand advocates who will significantly aid in your advertising efforts in 2021 and beyond.
- Focus on sharing your brand story. Storytelling has always been an integral piece of marketing. In 2021, businesses should identify new ways they can weave their narrative into their advertising efforts. In addition to sharing why customers should buy your product or service, share the story behind your brand, why it exists and why it matters to your customers.
- Create partnerships with other like-minded businesses. Brand partnerships and giveaways are great ways to offer customers additional incentives and rewards while also expanding your reach. It is important to make sure your partnerships make sense and that the other brand’s mission aligns with the values of your business in order for it to feel authentic to your audience.
- Interact with your customers frequently. Part of building relationships is communicating with others — and your customers are no different. Invest time and effort into responding to your customers when they reach out and look to understand them in every way possible. This will pay off when you are able to identify what motivates your target audience to make a purchase.
- Create a consistent voice and look across all marketing materials. Your business should give customers a sense of familiarity every time they engage with your brand through email, social media, website and print materials. This allows you to build brand recognition and become the go-to place to solve a particular problem or satisfy a need.
- Invest in your customer service and experience rather than just sales. Instead of only rewarding new customers with discount codes and special sales, remember to show love to your existing customers that you value with unexpected rewards. Ensure you are continually improving your customers’ experience from the start of the relationship to the present day.
- Create a sense of community for your customers and brand advocates. Great brands like Lululemon have mastered this technique of making customers feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves or the product they buy. You can create a community for your customer base with a private Facebook group for them to join or a branded hashtag that customers can use on social media. These examples allow you to authentically interact with your followers and customers on a 1:1 level.
Brands that build trust and authenticity with consumers will overcome the challenges of digital advertising through brand advocacy. Keep your customers’ experiences and feedback top of mind and allow this to drive your future marketing and advertising decisions. The end goal is to strike a balance between garnering new customers and converting existing customers into brand advocates who will promote your brand through word-of-mouth advertising.
Are you interested in learning more about how you can build a network of brand advocates for your business? Send a message to our team of experts who can analyze your current branding practices and develop strategies to expand your network of customers and partners to drive organic growth. Give us a ring at 757-962-7375 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.