Exploring the Emotions Behind Brand Advocacy

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
By understanding what drives customer loyalty, companies can encourage brand ambassadors to share their experiences and establish marketing strategies that positively impact consumer sentiment.

Consumers often have love/hate relationships with the products and services they encounter each day. While many will openly boast about the brands they love, those who hate certain companies are typically quite vocal about their dissatisfaction. However, brands that neglect to tap into the vast world of consumer sentiment bouncing around in cyberspace will miss the opportunity to impact customer perceptions and generate advocacy, for ambassadors will inevitably elevate the brand and cultivate positive relationships.

Social@Ogilvy's 2013 global brand advocacy study explores brand passion and the emotions and reasons driving online mentions via social media. The "How to Build a Global Passion Brand" report, published in conjunction with Visible Technologies, examines nearly seven million mentions of 23 brands across four countries, including the U.S., U.K., China, and Brazil. According to the report, social shares drive action at a rate as high as 10x that of paid impressions, indicating that mentions have much influence on the average customer. But, because true brand passion tends to be rare, most companies are currently striving to generate higher levels of advocacy simply by creating everyday experiences that delight and satisfy.

The following statistics demonstrate what factors typically drive consumers to share their thoughts via social and what role the degree of advocacy plays overall:

  • China earned the highest level of brand advocacy, with its volume of brand mentions equaling 30 percent-more than double that of the next closest country, the U.S. (13 percent).
  • However, China ranked lowest in terms of passion, with its brand mention intensity coming in at 18 on a scale of 0-100. The U.S. saw the greatest intensity at 49, while the U.K. came in at 43.
  • Overall, movies received the highest amount of passion throughout the various countries polled, ranking 45 on a scale of 0-100. Skincare came in second at 39, while fashion retail earned a 33.
  • On average, product features were the primary advocacy drivers, followed by cost. In the U.S., product features garnered 33 percent of mentions, while cost represented 24.2 percent.
  • Customer service earned the least amount of advocacy throughout the countries polled, gaining only 12 percent of mentions within the U.S.
  • When testing advocacy across various categories (coffee, fashion retail, hotels, movies, and skincare), features earned the highest amount of advocacy once again, with movies earning the top spot overall at 45.9 percent. Cost came in second, with coffee mentions at 25.8 percent.
  • Of the brands studied, Sheraton earned the highest advocacy (26 percent), while Kimpton ranked highest in the area of brand passion.

Key takeaway: For many companies, the influx of customer information poses the greatest obstacle. With advocacy and passion, brands must look deeper to uncover the drivers that are truly impacting social mentions. Though potentially difficult and time consuming, the insights gleaned bring understanding that will inevitably help the given brand make informed choices about how to approach consumers and align its business goals accordingly. Because of the large gap between satisfied and dissatisfied consumers, those in search of feedback typically stumble upon neutral or negative reviews, for only about 15 percent of all brand mentions spread advocacy. Companies must recognize this void and embrace the opportunity to improve their customer strategies in order to incite stronger brand passion among consumers.