Consumer Advocacy

'In psychology, there are three distinct ways to influence people––coercion, persuasion and contagion. Coercion refers to the use of force––in marketing terms, a monopolistic situation. Persuasion is the use of logic––this is what most of the marketing and advertising community is used to. Most ads are some form of consumer logic––be it betterment of living style or betterment of life.

Contagion is about exposure. There has to be something in the brand (can be product, communication or the people behind the brand) that when people are exposed to it they become carriers of it. This is the most evolved form of marketing and if done well, it can the biggest asset a brand can ever have––consumer advocacy.

In good times, huge marketing campaign and distribution push can help selling brands and lot of the shortcomings of a brand never get exposed. But when the times are not so good and marketing budgets take a nosedive, those brands become the first victims. In a recession economy, consumer advocacy can be the saviour. But for that to happen, the brands need to have a stronger social or cultural connect with the consumer and make the consumer feel a part of a larger thing.'

- Partha Sinha, 'Consumer advocacy: A saviour during recession'.

Comments

Karthik Murali said…
Sir, so is it safe to assume that once a brand attains a cult status ,for example a Harley Davidson or an apple , it automatically extends to a large consumer advocacy
cos the "Early Adopters" percentage in any cult brand is quite high , and they always turn out to be the biggest product champions the brand can ever dream to possess
Sir, I do agree to the benefits of Consumer Advocacy and its effects in a situation in which a brand is not doing well.
Also, every consumer has his/her own psyche about the perceived benefits/shortcomings about a product. In a recession economy these shortcomings become more prevalent and thus it becomes more difficult for the brand to keep its sales going .. and this is where Consumer Advocacy helps the brand ..
Sir, my point is then why should the company wait for such a stage to occur so that Consumer Advocacy is the 'Last Saviour'. Isnt there a solution in which the consumers of a brand be made to write testimonials on the company's webpage or some handpicked loyal consumers be made to turn into opinion leaders before this recession stage arises .. ? By doing this the social and cultural connect can also be established .... Is it practically possible ..??

..Deeptaman.
Prof.Ray Titus said…
Karthik,

Its the classic chicken 'n egg dilemma, what came first? Advocacy or the cult status. Is it advocacy that led to a cult status, or the other way round?

Who knows....And if one did, can advocacy be engineered? Or is it something that just happens?

Deeptaman,

No company uses Advocacy as a last resort. Its something brands desperately seek. That they never enjoy advocacy is the larger truth. And that's because the more intrusive the brand is, the less its advocated. Brands that get written into the lives of consumers, by consumers themselves are the ones talked about.

Testimonials on company webpages musn't be equated with advocacy.

Look...That's a marketer behind the testimonial....
Got your point Sir..
Thanx

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