Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing – Brand Advocacy, not Brand Defense

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

As we began to explore last week, Word of Mouth marketing is brand advocacy, not brand defense.  This means that leaders should proactively talk about their organizations to people in their circle of influence.  Leaders are hesitant to have these conversations because it means that we have to initiate them rather than wait for someone else to bring it up.  It is much easier to avoid conversations that could potentially be difficult than to actually have them.  Leaders also don’t want to infringe on social time with work talk. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

By initiating the conversation, you can actually help manage the conversation, clarify any questions, and make recommendations.  By sharing information about your organization, you may open the door for further discussion and recommendations for other services.  It can be fun to show pride in what your organization is doing and offering to your community.  People are more likely to choose an organization whose employees are excited and engaged.  If you don’t bring up your organization, you may not get the chance to talk it up and you’ll never know if there was a missed opportunity.

How can you do it?

  1. Talk. Share an organizational accomplishment or personal work accomplishment.  Talk about a new service or new development at your work place.  It can be a lot of fun to take ownership and show pride in your organization.  It may open a door to comfortably recommend a service your organization offers.
  2. Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask if the person has used your organization for something lately.  Ask about their experience.  Again, this can be a great opportunity to clarify any questions he didn’t ask while he was there and to recommend another product or service.  Remember that if there are issues or concerns, there should be customer service representatives at your organization to handle it for you. You play a role in resolving the issue by connecting him to the right person to address it.  If not for you, the issue may not ever be addressed.
  3. Thank. Always take the time to thank the person for choosing your organization. Thank him for sharing his experience with you or for asking for a recommendation.  Let him know to follow up with you if he chooses your organization again.  This opens the door for your next conversation.    

How have you been an advocate for your organization lately?

2 Responses to “Marketing Leadership: Word of Mouth Marketing – Brand Advocacy, not Brand Defense”

Becoming a brand advocate requires one to fully believe in their organization. Those who believe in their cause are at least 50% more influential than those who do not. Brand advocates must remain positive at all times. Positivity, like pessimism, spreads like a wild fire and is very contagious. Furthermore, it is imperative for leaders to engage in opportunities that enable consumers to build an emotional connection with the organization. This connection will increase brand awareness while creating a buzz in the community.

Kendall L. Stewart December 31st, 2013 at 8:51 am

When people speak to me about the excellent care they received at SOMC (and they often do), I find it helpful to ask them to elaborate. The more they talk about the details of their experience, the better they feel. And if this conversation occurs in a group context, their enthusiasm becomes contagious with others joining in. Beau makes an excellent point about the power of emotional contagion in his comment above.

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