14 min read

The Power of Brand Advocacy and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

According to research by Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising. Think about it: when a friend recommends a restaurant, you immediately add it to your “must-try” list. In contrast, it might take countless paid ads before you even consider it.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM) has been around as long as humans have communicated and remains one of the most efficient strategies today. You can buy a like, but you can’t fake a happy customer sharing their experience with a friend in a casual chat. WOMM is the basis for many marketing activities, such as customer reviews, influencer marketing, refer a friend, and brand advocacy campaigns.

At its core, advocacy campaigns rely on the foundational strength of Word-of-Mouth. You can’t run a successful brand advocacy campaign without achieving some level of organic WOMM.

This article will explore the journey of three companies that turned the power of WOMM into successful brand advocacy campaigns. Let’s dive in!

The Apple Ecosystem: Crafting a Community of Advocates

Background and Strategy

Apple, a titan in the technology sector, has built a massive customer base that stands as a testament to the power of brand advocacy. Beyond offering products, Apple has created an ecosystem that integrates seamlessly across devices, providing an unparalleled user experience.

Apple users are famous for sticking by the brand. They don’t just buy products; they become huge fans. More than just recommending Apple to others, they develop a deep bond with the brand. They are quick to defend it and are likely to overlook any small issues they encounter.

When it comes to winning over customers, few brands come close to Apple. The bond between the brand and its customers is the envy of many other companies. Every time a new product launches, hordes of eager fans can be seen queuing up to get their hands on the latest gadget.

Apple has a knack for sparking enthusiasm among its user base with remarkable ease. Through initiatives like the “Shot on iPhone” campaign, Apple turned its users into brand ambassadors, showcasing user-generated content that resonated with potential customers.

Apple’s consistent focus on innovation and customer satisfaction has nurtured a loyal customer base that eagerly anticipates new product launches, actively engages in discussions, and willingly recommends Apple products to peers, thus fuelling a powerful word-of-mouth marketing machinery.

This tactic quickly gained traction among the broader iPhone user community, encouraging more individuals to share their selfies online. As a result, the brand witnessed a significant boost in trust, authenticity, and influence.

Why It Worked

Apple’s success comes from its knack for creating a group of devoted fans who absolutely love the product quality and the experience it offers. Through clever ideas, like the “Shot on iPhone” campaign, Apple managed to turn everyday users into proud spokespeople for the brand, showing off real photos and stories that struck a chord with potential buyers. They have also amassed over 28 million post tags on Instagram with the hashtag #shotoniphone!

The company’s steady commitment to coming up with new, exciting features and keeping customers happy has built a solid base of loyal fans. These people can’t wait to see what Apple comes up with next, often getting involved in online chats and happily telling their friends and family why they love Apple products.

This has set off a strong chain of word-of-mouth marketing, with more and more people joining the Apple family based on recommendations from those they trust.

Insights and Data

In terms of insights and data, the genuine engagement that Apple fosters with its user base paints a picture of unparalleled loyalty and advocacy. Surveys consistently highlight a remarkable retention rate, with a vast majority of Apple users choosing to stick with the brand for their next purchase.

This loyalty is not confined to anecdotal evidence; statistical data underscores the brand’s dominance in customer satisfaction indices year after year. Furthermore, the viral nature of their marketing campaigns often garners billions of impressions, indicating a deep resonance with both existing customers and potential new users.

This level of engagement, combined with authentic user-generated content, forms a sturdy foundation for Apple’s sustained market leadership, fostering a cycle of anticipation and delight with every new product launch.

BrewDog’s Wave of Craft Beer: Stirring Up a Loyal Community

Background and Strategy

In the craft beer landscape, BrewDog has emerged as a formidable force, capitalising not just on their distinct beer offerings but also fostering a robust community of brand advocates. It’s more than a brewery; it’s a revolution that encapsulates a spirit of innovation and authenticity, ushering in a loyal fanbase that echoes its ethos.

People who choose BrewDog aren’t just picking a beer; they are becoming a part of a vibrant and passionate community. BrewDog has managed to tap into a sense of camaraderie and belonging among its patrons, who not only enjoy their products but also deeply resonate with the brand’s rebellious spirit and ethos.

From innovative product launches to the establishment of new pubs, BrewDog creates a ripple of excitement among its community. Initiatives like “Equity for Punks” have particularly stood out, transforming customers into stakeholders, and fostering a sense of ownership and belonging that’s rare to find.

This Scottish brewery has managed to foster a culture of camaraderie and purpose, often channeling its innovative spirit into ventures that give back to the community and the environment.

Their strategy often encompasses the launch of product lines dedicated to supporting various causes. Coupled with captivating advertising campaigns and community engagement initiatives, BrewDog has succeeded in creating a vibrant community of brand ambassadors who resonate deeply with the brand’s values and vision.

Why It Worked

BrewDog has carved out a space in the craft beer industry by adeptly creating a devoted community that shares its passion for quality and innovation. The “Equity for Punks” programme was a masterstroke in this regard, offering customers a chance to own a piece of BrewDog, thereby nurturing a network of advocates who share authentic stories and experiences, creating a ripple effect that attracts new patrons.

This community-centric approach has fostered a tribe of enthusiasts who actively engage with the brand, eagerly anticipate new releases, and freely advocate for BrewDog in their social circles. It’s this genuine, organic advocacy that has propelled a dynamic word-of-mouth marketing movement, continually broadening BrewDog’s reach and influence.

Furthermore, their knack for launching product lines that contribute to charitable causes has struck a chord with a wider audience who appreciate the brand’s commitment to giving back. This, coupled with, sometimes tongue in cheek advertising, and authentic engagement with the community, has fostered a dynamic and loyal customer base eager to spread the word about BrewDog’s endeavours.

Insights and Data

BrewDog’s journey offers insightful lessons in building a brand that resonates deeply with its audience. The success of their “Equity for Punks” scheme is a testament to this, having raised over £100 million from more than 200,000 investors since is launch in 2009, a clear indication of the brand’s unique place in the hearts of its community. Moreover, the brand has enjoyed a robust social media presence, with their initiatives often sparking vibrant discussions and engagement across platforms, showcasing the power of community-driven marketing.

The data mirrors this success, with BrewDog boasting impressive growth since its inception in 2007, swiftly ascending to become a household name in the UK’s craft beer scene.

(source: Brewdog)

This growth trajectory, backed by authentic customer advocacy and innovative campaigns, positions BrewDog as a powerhouse in the industry, primed to delight its community with each new venture.

Innocent Drinks: Nurturing a Community Through Wholesome Products and Responsible Practices

Background and Strategy

In the bustling beverage industry, Innocent Drinks stands as a beacon of brand authenticity and community engagement. It’s not just about offering a range of fresh and healthy drinks; it’s about creating a brand that embodies positivity, wellness, and a sincere commitment to the environment.

Innocent Drinks has cultivated a community of consumers who aren’t just fans of their delicious products, but advocates for a brand that promises goodness, both in terms of product quality and corporate responsibility. The company’s ethos, ‘to leave things better than they find them’, resonates deeply with a customer base that values transparency and sustainability.

Their vibrant packaging and playful marketing strategies, paired with initiatives that focus on giving back to the community and the planet, have fostered a strong bond with their audience. Through campaigns like ‘The Big Knit’, which partners with Age UK to help keep older people warm in winter, they’ve managed to marry product promotion with charitable causes, thus nurturing a community of brand advocates who appreciate and share Innocent’s vision and values.

Why It Worked

Innocent’s triumph stems from its genuine commitment to offering products that are not only tasty but also nurtured with ethical and environmental considerations. Their strategy of coupling product promotion with initiatives that give back to the community has fostered a growing community of brand advocates who appreciate the company’s wholesome approach.

Moreover, Innocent has mastered the art of social media engagement with its witty, humorous, and often downright hilarious social media content.

Their distinctive brand voice, which often encompasses light-hearted banter and puns, resonates with followers, fostering a sense of familiarity and friendliness that stands out in the crowded social media space. This clever approach to social media has created a buzz around the brand, encouraging users to engage, share, and become active advocates for the brand’s products and its broader mission.

The brand communicates with a human touch, often engaging its community with a sense of humour and warmth, which has fostered a deeply loyal and engaged audience. Through their vibrant social media presence, they’ve managed to create an environment where customers feel like part of a friendly and responsible community.

The successful campaigns and community engagement initiatives have spurred a strong word-of-mouth movement, with customers eagerly sharing their love for the brand and its values, thereby attracting a broader audience who align with Innocent’s responsible and wholesome ethos.

Insights and Data

Innocent Drinks’ approach to building a brand grounded in responsibility and community engagement offers a blueprint for success in today’s consumer market. Their sustainability initiatives, such as pledging to become carbon neutral by 2030, resonate deeply with a growing segment of consumers seeking brands with a conscience.

The data speaks volumes of their success. Their commitment to giving back has not only fostered a loyal customer base but has also attracted a significant following on social media platforms, where they engage users with their quirky and friendly brand persona. The ‘Big Knit’ campaign, for instance, has been a massive hit, knitting millions of little hats and raising over £2.5 million for Age UK since its inception.

This approach, harmonising product quality with corporate responsibility, has positioned Innocent Drinks as a leader in the industry, fostering a community that eagerly anticipates their new products and initiatives, and willingly advocates for the brand within their circles, propelling a robust cycle of positive engagement and growth.

The Winning Formula of Community Engagement and Brand Advocacy

In today’s fast-paced world, customers are looking for more than just quality products; they are drawn to brands that resonate with their values and lifestyles. This is clearly seen in the success stories of Apple, BrewDog, and Innocent Drinks. These companies have managed to build a strong and loyal customer base, not just by selling products, but by building communities that share their ethos and vision.

What sets these brands apart is their genuine connection with customers. They’ve made clever use of social media to engage with their audience in a friendly and authentic manner, making customers feel more like friends than just consumers and allowing them to be a part of their story. This approach has not only fostered trust but also encouraged people to actively advocate for these brands in their personal circles, igniting a powerful word-of-mouth marketing movement.

As we look at the success of these companies, it becomes evident that fostering community engagement and brand advocacy is not just a nice-to-have, but a must-have strategy in today’s competitive market. It serves as a blueprint for other businesses aiming to build a loyal customer base and achieve sustainable growth.