Brand advocacy important for reach

17 July 2013
NEW YORK: Brands are failing to get satisfied customers to share their views in social media although advocacy can account for up to 80% of reach from marketing campaigns, new research has suggested.

Social@Ogilvy, the social media strategist, analysed 7m brand social mentions across four countries – Brazil, China, UK, US – and 22 brands in order to ascertain the key drivers of advocacy.

It found that most brand mentions were casual asides and were either neutral or negative. Advocacy mentions represented about 15% of all brand mentions.

"Brands have not provided the technology, incentives or content that both inspire and enable customers to speak out positively," said Irfan Kamal, global head of Data+Analytics and Products at Social@Ogilvy.

"To help close the gap, brands must help facilitate advocacy volume, reward passion and amplify reach," he added.

The US hotels category was cited as an example, with the Ogilvy study suggesting that some hotels reported guest satisfaction scores of 80% or more, but nevertheless had less than one advocacy mention per 100 stays.

"There is clearly a large social advocacy gap: the vast majority of people satisfied with their experience aren't advocating online," the report stated.

Social@Ogilvy also identified "clusters" of discussion which highlighted those areas inspiring advocacy from fans – ranging from breakfasts at Holiday Inns to bars in Kimpton's Hotels – and which it suggested could be used to inform changes in messaging and products.

Globally, the study found that the highest rates of brand advocacy in China. But the most passionate levels of advocacy were found in the US and UK.

This echoed earlier research from loyalty marketing agency ICLP Worldwide, reported in Admap, which established advocacy levels of 75% and 63% in China and India respectively, compared to 45% and 38% in the US and UK.

ICLP managing director Mignon Buckingham argued that brands in the emerging markets needed to maximise this opportunity to help drive additional interaction and create revenue opportunities.

Social@Ogilvy also observed that passion for a brand was more likely to be driven by product and service features than by emotions, ads and cost.

Noting that products such as skin care or hotels could generate more passionate advocacy than blockbuster movies, Social@Ogilvy remarked: "It seems people often get excited by more day-to-day experiences."

Data sourced from PR Newswire, Admap; additional content by Warc staff
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