Whether it be a new Netflix series or movie, a good restaurant to eat at or your next travel destination, the power that our friends and colleagues opinions have on us is tremendous. Such referrals are so persuasive because we respect those giving the advice and that is where the inherent power of advocacy lies. We trust and will be more inclined to act on the word of the people closest to us than we will be to believe any over the top, high budget ad campaign.
The cold hard stats don’t lie; Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising. So no matter how many times you see an ad for that new blockbuster movie, chances are you’re not going to buy the movie ticket until you get a recommendation from someone you know, trust and respect.
This sentiment is backed up in the wider world of business as well. It takes a lot of work to make a sale and build revenue to realise business success. Finding leads amongst a prospecting/cold audience can be incredibly tough, especially in higher ticket items where the decision making process of customers will be more lengthy and thorough to ensure they make the correct decision.
This is why customer referrals are important and should make up an integral part of any communications plan. Loyal customers appreciate and will stick with a business and product through thick and thin. They not only come back to make repeat purchases, but also become powerful long term advocates for your brand. The power of recommendations reaches beyond just family and friends, as research by BrightLocal reveals that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So a sea of gold 5 star Google reviews is not just an ego booster or vanity metric for business owners. It not only helps build loyal communities of brand advocates, but also presents a powerful alternative means to founder trust amongst prospective customers.
“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects the intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in ecommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.”Nick Hajili – International Journal of Market Research
Global brands are constantly finding unique ways to foster and encourage word of mouth amongst customers that is ultimately building their brand and business. On a large scale, Disney with their theme parks have created unforgettable and stunning visual experiences that people want to capture and share with their friends. On a slightly smaller scale Dollar Shave Club took a simple product (men’s razors) and marketed it in a completely new and unique way creating a viral campaign that was shared across the US, delivering them 12,000 new customers in 24 hours.
Knowing the power of advocacy in building brand trust and driving outcomes, this year we captured, produced and shared a number of advocacy video pieces for our partners.
The re-election campaign for Dr Kerryn Phelps, MP for Wentworth (Australia), was characterised by community anger and frustration of the ‘business as usual’ attitude. We took an alternative approach to traditional political messaging by capturing this anger and negative sentiment from around the electorate, turning it into positive action for the progressive independent.
Creating a “I’m voting for Kerryn Phelps because…” videos we provided an alternative approach to the traditionally stale policy focused messaging that dominated this year’s Federal election. These advocacy spots allowed real community voices to be captured and shared, uncovering to the voters of Wentworth that Dr Phelps embodied their sentiment in an authentic and genuine way. These videos saw great success, consistently delivering completion rates higher than her other policy focused video content. For every $1 we spent, we earned $3.80 in donations.
We also used advocacy focused content to great effect during our work with the Acsenda School of Management in Vancouver. Utilising current students, alumni and members of the teaching staff, we explored how the connection between teacher and student at Acsenda was unique in comparison to other universities. Testimonial content gave viewers an insight into who makes up the university, why they’re passionate and what makes Acsenda special to them. This content resonated strongly with our target audience seeing great success.
Across testimonial pieces we saw a link click through rate that was up to 3x higher than the industry standard for education on social media.