How Do Brand Advocates Compare to Brand Influencers?

How Do Brand Advocates Compare to Brand Influencers? image word of mouth online user reviews 300x225How Do Brand Advocates Compare to Brand Influencers?


Previously, we brought you the difference between brand advocates and brand ambassadors, noting that the phrases “brand advocates” and “brand ambassadors” sound quite similar but mean completely different things. The phrases “brand advocates” and “brand influencers” certainly sound more disparate, and they play no mind games. Let’s see how they stack up.

The first thing to note is the difference in demographic. A brand advocate is usually a volunteer and a member of the general consumer public – unpaid, offering their opinions out of their own free will. He or she will spread the word through word of mouth, social media, or through leaving online reviews on sites such as Yelp or Amazon. In other words, a brand advocate is simply a well-satisfied customer who took the initiative to talk about their experience. On the other hand, what we would call an “influencer” is often somebody who already has their own, personal audience who is interested in what they have to say on many topics. This means influencers are popular celebrities, prominent bloggers, etc.

However, how does the public respond to these two types of brand loudspeakers?

Here, brand advocates are the clear winner. Research from Nielson says that brand advocates have earned the trust of an impressive 92% of people around the world. Influencers’ rating pales in comparison, with personal blogs coming in at 18% trustworthy.

We find another key difference by looking at brand advocates’ and brand influencers’ motivations. According to Rob Fuggetta, a brand advocate “goes out of their way to evangelize your brand to his and her peers and colleagues without cash or coupons, payments, or perks.” The second part of this sentence just screams “free”! In contrast, influencer acquisition often takes place to the tune of “expensive celebrity endorsement” or “sponsored trial product for a notable blogger.” Additionally, the influencer with his or her own fanbase is – just like you – constantly seeking to grow their own reach.

One advantage of influencers, however, is indeed their usually diverse and wide fanbase. Supposing the influencer’s fanbase is large enough, the lack of perceived genuineness by consumers may be offset by sheer numbers alone.

Nonetheless, brand advocates have one last trump card. While influencers last as long as the duration of, say, a contract or a trial period, satisfied customers have a much longer shelf life. Clearly, harnessing the power of brand advocates is vital to any brand’s marketing success.

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