Brand advocacy 101 😎

Unlocking word of mouth can help your brand grow.

Turning customers into brand advocates is the best way to get word of mouth. It can be a valuable, effective and scalable tool for growing awareness.

Jaclyn Crocker lives and breathes everything brand advocacy. Now Lead Brand and Community Consultant at Duel, she previously spent eight years at Lululemon. Jaclyn gave us the lowdown on brand advocacy, sharing all she’s learned over her career. Read on to find out what it’s all about.

So, why brand advocacy?

In today’s hyper-connected world, brand advocacy is a powerful marketing tool. 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than they do from advertising. Word of mouth is twice as effective as paid advertising.

Brand advocacy is at the heart of Lululemon’s mission. Building relationships with ambassadors (influential people in the fitness world) and creating amazing customer experiences has made their customers their biggest storytellers. They shout about the brand and spread the word.


Advocates can help you acquire customers, convert customers, retain customers and understand customers. They’re a super-engaged group of fans who are happy to chat to your brand too. 


So, we’ve got you excited about the potential of turning customers into brand advocates. How do you do it? Jacyln shared her simple framework to help you get started:


1. It’s all about brand love


Instead of segmenting customers based on spend, do it based on brand engagement.


20% of your customers are likely producing 80% of your engagement.


Break your customers down into five segments:


  • CRM – people who likely haven’t purchased.

  • Customers – bought from you, maybe more than once.

  • Loyalists – people who have purchased from you multiple times and probably told a friend about your brand.

  • Advocates – repurchase often, have recommended you to their friends, would be happy to share a referral link.

  • Superfans – usually make up about 1% of your customers. They’re so active you’re likely to know them by name. So loyal to your brand that they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth and buy anything you make.

You can’t force customers into segments – it’s based on the actions they take. Look at email open rates, site visits, reviews left, survey responses etc. to get an idea of who is the most engaged. Work out what actions your advocates are likely to take.


2. Let’s chat


Once you’ve segmented, it’s time to work out what to do with the info. Think about how to use your advocates and superfans to turn more CRM people into customers, and more customers into loyalists. 


First, create a channel where customers can self-select into segments. A newsletter, closed group or feedback form can work well. The goal is to get customers to do an action that puts them into the advocate camp.


Then, work out what you’d like your advocates to do. Would you like product feedback? Do you want them to share referral links? Are you after user-generated content? Set these goals in line with your company’s objectives.


Figure out how to reward the behaviour you’re after. Could you send a discount code to different segments? Perhaps offer free products? Or could you invite your advocates to talk to you and get them to feel heard?


Glossier identified their superfans and created a closed Slack channel of 150 of them. The fans chatted to the design team, offered feedback and gave market research. Their feedback was actioned and they felt heard – an awesome customer experience they’re sure to tell their friends about.


3. Metrics time

We all love a bit of data. Jaclyn shared a handy formula to help work out the value of advocates and superfans.


First, work out how much your average customer is worth based on how much they purchase with you. Add any customers they recommend (usually only one or two) and you’ll have the overall value of an average customer.

Now, pick a superfan. Work out their lifetime value to your brand (based on how much they’ve spent with you). Then, add the value of all the people they’ve told about your brand who’ve gone on to purchase. Remember, these people LOVE your brand, so they’ll usually be happy to tell you this info. Add together and you’ll have the value of a superfan.


Use this calc to work out how much value you could add to the business by turning more average customers into advocates and superfans. Then, use this info to inform your decisions about future advocate strategies.


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