Branding Strategy: Get Your Advocates to Share Their Stories

Another great way to energize your Brand Advocates is to invite them to create stories. Stories are brief written or video statements where Advocates talk about how your company, brands, or products are making their lives better, easier, or more productive. Advocate stories are powerful because they’re real. They help you build credibility, generate referral leads, and accelerate sales.

Buick, a brand on the comeback trail, wants consumers to shift the way people think about luxury- and about Buick. So Buick is getting its Advocates to write and share stories about why they love their Buicks. In only a few weeks, Buick Advocates have written over 1,600 love letters and 16% of Advocates have shared them on Facebook.

Different From Reviews

Advocate stories differ from reviews in three ways:

  1. Advocate stories are typically about Advocates’ experiences with your company or brand versus with a particular product.
  2. Since Advocate stories focus on company or brand rather than specific products or services, they typically do not include star ratings as reviews do.
  3. Advocate stories are often more personal and emotional than reviews. They often focus on Advocates’ feelings rather than product features and benefits.

Three Strategic Uses For Advocates’ Stories

Here are three situations where Advocates’ stories can be especially helpful:

  1. Support brand messages. Advocates’ stories can help communicate and add credibility to your brand message. CDW, the online retailer’s brand message is that CDW “gets IT.” (IT, in this case, also stands for Information Technology.) CDW can get its Advocates to create stories about how their experiences show that CDW deeply understands the needs of IT managers.
  2. Rebranding and repositioning. Advocates’ stories can add credibility to your claims if you’re trying to change perceptions about what your brand or company stands for. Jamba Juice wants to transform its brand from a made-to-order smoothie company to a healthy, active lifestyle brand. So we recommended that Jamba get its Advocates to create stories that support its new positioning.
  3. Rejuvenating. Advocates’ stories can help reinvigorate your brand’s image. Ball Corporation, makers of the iconic glass jars used for canning vegetables, needs to find a way to be relevant to today’s women. So they’re inviting Advocates who are a younger demographic than Ball’s traditional customers to create stories about how easy it is to make delicious, healthy food at home.

Give your Advocates the opportunity to share their story about your brand. You’ll find they’ll come up with more emotional and compelling content than your ad agency can.