What is a brand evangelist and why do you need to recruit one?

For all of the sour dispositions and negative brand reviews online, there are many knights in shining armor, also known as brand evangelists. In this article, we show what they can do for your business and why it is important to recruit them.

brand evangelist and brand evangelism

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In the fairytale land that is the Internet, there’s a troll underneath nearly every bridge. Yet for all of the sour dispositions and negative brand reviews online, there are many knights in shining armor, also known as brand evangelists.

They will defend your products and services, figuratively sell them to friends and family, and wait with bated breath for your next innovation. Some of them might even work right alongside you. Befriend these voices and your brand can flourish through positive social chatter and even increased sales.

Such a process might not be intuitive to all. You must work closely with your customers and understand them to obtain brand evangelists. This is not a simple relationship you maintain with low prices and sales. You have to go further than that.

In this article, we’ll talk about:

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    What is a brand evangelist?

    The term brand evangelist is used to refer to someone who is not only a client but also an active promoter of a brand. These people make sure to tell others how great its products and services are, always engage with the brand’s content, and serve as a line of defense whenever there is a crisis.

    Having brand evangelists working for your business is also an effective way to reach a broader audience through word-of-mouth. Considering how valuable social proof is for many potential consumers, brand evangelists can be seen as key salespeople for your products and services.

    However, it is not that easy to recruit a brand evangelist for your business. This requires keeping up with the trends, a solid strategy that is constantly updated, and staying in touch with your customers to learn their ever-changing needs.

    The role of brand evangelists

    Brand evangelists are not simple customers. They make sure to tell everyone about how good your products are and how amazing your company is. This is a deeper relationship than simply buying items off a shelf based on price or packaging.

    For a company, having brand evangelists working for them is very important. Not having a strategy focused on recruiting them can deprive you of great benefits. However, your work does not stop there. You should also employ efforts to keep those people happy.

    Ultimately, you should see brand evangelists as active promoters for your brand. They are not your employees, so they might leave you in case they are displeased. That is why you should take good care of them and devise the best strategies to work with them.

    Who can be a brand evangelist?

    Despite the fancy term, a brand evangelist is simply a customer of your business. They are regular people who love a brand very much and make sure to promote it to friends, family, and even strangers.

    Usually, brand evangelists are people who have been dealing with a business for a while. During this time, they’ve had positive experiences both with the products and your company itself. They are used to a good relationship with your business and have recommended it to others before.

    With that said, it is important to note that happy customers are more likely to become brand evangelists. Don’t simply look at your entire client list and try to convert them all into such role. A personalized approach is required for that.

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    What are the types of brand evangelists?

    The best way to plan a strategy focused on recruiting brand evangelists is to first understand their various types. Of course, it’s best to attract them all but their traits require different approaches to your product development and marketing campaigns.

    Below are the main types of brand evangelists that you can attract to your business.

    Ethics admirer

    To recruit brand evangelists, you need to have an admirable stance. This means having a positive message, a positioning that is aligned with people’s ideals and being coherent in your communication.

    This goes beyond just saying you are ethical, you must take action as well. For example, it is the case of a cosmetics brand letting people know they don’t test their products on animals.

    Image admirer

    You should always work on your brand’s image, as it is a possible channel to attract brand evangelists. These people like how your business shows itself, either through its colors, kinds of messages, or anything in-between.

    Recruiting an image admirer is all about making what your brand makes them feel. For instance, it is like an urban clothing outlet having its customers feel hip and trendy.

    Local promoter

    Especially valuable to businesses such as stores, restaurants, and others, the local promoter has a good experience and makes sure to talk about it to friends and family.

    This is a valuable asset to have since local marketing strategies can bring new visitors to your business who live nearby or are frequently in the area.

    Product lover

    Those are brand evangelists that not only love a business’ product or service but also make sure to tell about it to all their friends.

    This is mostly due to a positive experience when using the product and having their needs satisfied by it.

    Why you should invest in recruiting brand evangelists?

    When you consider the specific advantages brought by brand evangelists, it becomes clear why they are so valuable. Those reasons are enough to always maintain a strategy focused on recruiting them.

    Would you like to know more? Then, check below the biggest benefits of recruiting brand evangelists to your business.

    Competitive advantage

    You should take any available edge to distance yourself from the competition, right? Among those possibilities is having faithful brand evangelists. Those people will help you be unique. Their promotion will allow others to consider your products instead of your competitors.

    Healthier conversations

    The conversation around your brand, especially in the digital realm, is very important for your image. Having brand evangelists is essential to level the field and see healthier mentions. This, in turn, will influence more people to see your brand positively.

    Improved products

    Brand evangelists also help you develop better products. After all, they are such fans of your business that they will actively offer valuable feedback on how to further improve them. The insight of people who love your products will be essential to learn exactly where to focus.

    Better handling of crises

    No business is immune to crises, no matter their nature. However, having brand evangelists on your side might help you soften the inevitable blows. They will also share your positive messages in these delicate times, increasing the reach of your brand’s crisis management.

    How to recruit a brand evangelist?

    You now have learned about the concept of brand evangelists and the benefits of having them. You are probably interested in bringing them to your business. Before anything, it is important to know that this process requires a specific strategy. Keeping business as usual will not allow you to gain brand evangelists, as you need to go further than that.

    Below, we have listed the best ways to recruit brand evangelists to your company. Check them out!

    Start a club

    One of the best ways to recruit a group of brand evangelists quickly is to gather them under the umbrella of an exclusive club.

    Constant Contact shares excellent strategies for finding recruits, along with a sample survey brands can use to identify prospective club members. The company recommends starting with email lists or social accounts where key followers demonstrate they’re engaged via clickthroughs and shares.

    Over at CopyBlogger.com, Shannon Byrne advises listening socially and interacting with commenters no matter how few followers they enjoy. Bring gratitude and intelligent asides to conversations for maximum impact and the opportunity to add new ambassadors for your brand.

    Another option is to segment brand evangelists into tiers, each of which has special incentives and responsibilities, adds social UGC company ReadyPulse. Deploying your message in multiple layers can ensure it reaches a broad audience.

    Finally, if you’re looking for examples of successful brand evangelist campaigns, check out the American Express Neighborhood Champions program. The initiative, which complements Small Business Saturday, equips residents of cities throughout the U.S. to rally for local businesses with downloadable banners, social media tools, and more.

    Give appreciation to existing customers

    Don’t forget to appreciate those who already bought from you. A healthy business must have a strategy focused on continuously reaching these people with personalized offers.

    Digital marketing allows for such segmentation to be possible. You can target your most active existing customers to reward them. For instance, consider the kinds of products certain clients buy and prepare exclusive deals on similar ones.

    You can also go further from the sales focus and simply reach out to them with tips and valuable content related to their interests.

    Look internally

    With the proper planning and research, brand evangelists can come from within your own ranks. Talented team members might have the right stuff to blog, post on social media, or perform other tasks critical to getting your message to the masses.

    Yet be warned: the perils of a half-baked brand evangelist push are many. You must know the channels you intend to use and pair them to people with the appropriate talents, notes James Carson at Econsultancy. Otherwise, content consumers might question why you’re playing in certain spaces and fail to engage in the way you hoped.

    Team members who wish to become brand evangelists should remember to advance their own professional brand in the process, notes Randy Hawthorne at NonprofitHub.org. Recommend and endorse fellow professionals on LinkedIn and post items to social media that speak to your core values. In doing so, you demonstrate yourself to be likable and invested.

    Above all, remember that all employees offer immense value, says Michael Chalmers at Middle Georgia CEO. People overwhelmingly trust peer reviews and recommendations, meaning any cheerleaders in your company’s network has the potential to directly influence sales.

    Engage with your customers

    To those businesses that desire brand evangelists, a simple question: do you routinely engage with your buyer persona? With channels such as social media, we now have ample opportunities to talk to our audience. One of the best ways to make them fall in love with your business is to engage with them.

    This means going further than simply liking comments and shares. Consider each person as an individual and engage with them in a personalized way. Make them feel appreciated and they will appreciate your brand back.

    This becomes easier when using a specific tool for online communication. Choose one that allows you to answer messages from various channels in a single interface, which will help you take less time to give them attention.

    Look to the top of the ladder

    In fact, the ability to be a brand evangelist extends to the C-suite.

    Over at Business2Community, Kyle Wong estimates nearly a quarter of his time as CEO of a startup software company is spent generating heat, meaning creating buzz around his brand. Marketing teams looking to get a serious voice in the conversation shouldn’t overlook the possibility of brand evangelism from the big boss, even if it can be a challenge to get on his or her calendar. (And yes, there is evidence content makes money, in case you need some evidence to share.)

    Identify early adopters

    In a twist on the strategies we’ve discussed above, brands also have the option of recruiting evangelists to come work for them full-time.

    Over at Jobvite, a variety of experts recommend looking for talented types who demonstrate enthusiasm for adapting to changing marketing technologyThis post from Prominence, a social media company specializing in the employment sector, demonstrates how Dell used existing internal brand evangelists to identify great new hires.

    “As a project team,” Prominence notes, “they had concluded that positively influencing Dell’s employment brand, improving their ability to attract top talent, and increasing employee engagement outweighed the obvious risks of increasing Dell’s existing employees exposure to competitors or head hunters and reduced control over negative or damaging content.”

    Don’t forget to use various forms of content, including earned and paid, to maximize your recruitment of internal evangelists online.

    Determine where the buck stops

    In the end, brand evangelism requires special types of people. It’s up to you to define who those people are and what they do best.

    To get into the recruitment mindset, I highly recommend a recent post by Andy Betts over at the Content Marketing Institute. He walks you through how to move beyond page views to capture audience personas and analytics that actually mean something tangible for your brand. In the end, you’ll see the process is far less painful than taming a fire-breathing dragon and just about as rewarding as that magical happily ever after.

    Make sharing easier

    Sometimes, all that it takes for you to recruit brand evangelists is to make it easier for them to tell everyone how much they love your company. That is why you need to take a look at your digital presence and check for possible sharing opportunities you might be missing.

    A way to do this is to invite people to share pictures of them using your products or services with a branded hashtag. The more people get used to raving about your business, the greater are the chances of recruiting brand evangelists.

    In addition, this doesn’t apply only to the people posting. Their friends and contacts might be contaminated by the love and join your business as evangelists as well.

    Being able to recruit a brand evangelist is essential to any competitive business. This is the way to have faithful customers who not only love your business but will also defend it. Consider the benefits described in the article and use the tips above to attract brand evangelists to your company as soon as possible through the right strategies.

    And since you are here to improve your marketing results, why don’t you check the new issue of Rock Content Magazine? In this material, we talk about how content experiences are shaping the new world of marketing. It’s free!

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