With businesses competing in a hyper-mature, oversupplied market, creating a great product or service is no longer enough to win you loyal fans and customers. Engagement wins. It’s invaluable to know what makes people tick. Knowing your customer means you’re engaged, you’re listening and responding—and you can make informed predications. And being engaged gets people talking about your product. It’s then you really move the needle on amassing a following of brand advocates. Consider the following consumer types. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll consider how to nurture the more engaged brand advocates.

Connoisseurs are engaged and knowledgeable about a category. As the name suggests, they’re selective, informed and picky. Though they have tremendous affection for a certain category of products and dig deep to learn about it, they are not loyal to a specific brand.

Savvy Opportunists
Equally knowledgeable but less engaged than connoisseurs, Savvy Opportunists are coupon clippers, bargain hunters, and reward points accumulators—making them less passionate, more utilitarian decision-makers.

If you ask a friend “Pepsi or Coca-Cola?” and the response is “They are the same to me,” you’re talking to a pragmatic—the ultimate non-differentiators whose purchase decisions are based on some combination of habit, routine, price, utility, and convenience. They may or may not have knowledge about a certain category or brand, but they’re not emotionally invested.

As the name suggested, the reluctants feel uncomfortable, confused, frustrated and awkward and don’t want to participate in the category unless they have no choice.

Brand Loyalist
This category has been getting a lot of attention the past several years, heralded by marketers for showing a stubborn, committed passion for a particular brand, making them ideal customers. Regardless of their level of knowledge about a category, they are highly engaged in the brands they admire.

Brand Advocates
This category represents the ultimate target in today’s social-sharing world. Advocates are both highly engaged and deeply knowledgeable. They love learning about a brand and sharing knowledge with others. Brand advocates are similar to brand loyalists in their loyal to a certain brand. However, the relationship of advocacy goes beyond purchasing: the brand advocates are emotionally attached and actively, positively and voluntarily communicating about it to others. (Lowenstein, 2011)

As people are more likely to both find and share information online, the power of brand advocacy has become unprecedentedly strong, making this the ultimate consumer. Today, 92% of people read online reviews before purchase (BrightLocal, 2015); 90% of people admit that their purchase decisions are influenced by information online (Dimensional Research, 2013); 88% of people trust information online from strangers as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal, 2014).

What this all means? Build your business strategy around Brand Advocates: the volunteer marketers whose loyalty will lead to a positive effect on your bottom line.

UP NEXT: The Power of the Brand Advocate

Moon, Y. (2010). Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd: Standing out in a world where conformity reigns but exceptions rule.
Lowenstein, M.W. (2011) The customer advocate and the customer saboteur liking social word-of-mouth, brand impression, and stakeholder behavior. USA: ASO Quality Press

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