Brand evangelism can be defined as a consumer’s dedication and enthusiasm about a brand, generally inspired by an emotional connection. Brand evangelists are your most valuable customers—they enthusiastically recommend your brand simply because they enjoy it, which is the most valuable type of free advertising. Not everyone can or will become a brand evangelist, and not all brands easily inspire this behavior. So how can you improve brand evangelism and earn more of these invaluable customers?
The Psychology of Brand Evangelism: What is Brand Evangelism and How Can You Inspire It?
Brand: noun A name, symbol or another feature identifying a business or its products
Evangelism: noun Strong advocacy for a cause
Who Can Be a Brand Evangelist?
Brand evangelism is more common in some types of people than others. These people are enthusiastic and dedicated, they take an interest and investigate things. A brand evangelist is more than a consumer. They are a fan, as one might be a fan of a music artist or celebrity. Unless something happens to shake their loyalty, they’ll recommend their favorite brand at any opportunity, and they’ll almost never use a competitor’s product.
What does a brand evangelist do?
- Generally, they will not ever buy from competitors.
- Truly loyal evangelists will buy anything that you make—they have a connection with your company, not just your product.
- They write detailed, glowing reviews.
- They talk about your brand and products to friends and family.
- Social media users will post pictures of them using your product.
- They provide free advertising that is more trustworthy to most customers, since it is not based on a paid relationship.
Showcase your customer evangelists’ stories with compelling video testimonials. See how it works.
Types of Brand Evangelist
There are different levels and types of brand evangelism, just as there are different types of people who take special interest in brands. Some people are very enthusiastic, wearing brand merchandise, praising the company on social media, even making videos about a product or service. Others are quieter, making more recommendations directly to family and friends, but are still flag-bearers of the business. This person might be a fellow business owner, an (unpaid) social media influencer, or a regular consumer.
- Local Promoter: This person was probably impressed by a particularly caring employee at a local store or an exceptional experience with a local service. This experience gave them the impression that the company actually cares, creating an emotional connection. They will continue to work with you for years to come, and recommend you to neighbors, family, and friends (Ex. Trader Joe’s special delivery for an customer in need)
- Product Lover: Your product solved problem in a way that your customer didn’t expect, either through ingenuity or quality craftsmanship. This instilled respect in the customer, convincing them that you are dedicated to creating a high-quality or innovative product. They will probably never buy from competitors, they’ll purchase your other products with little resistance, and they’ll happily write great reviews. (Timberland boots, Ninja blender, Gravity blanket)
- Image Maven: Your brand’s image connects seamlessly with the customer’s identity. They connect your products to their own image, making them feel tough, trendy, or chic. They’ll post pictures on social media using and praising your products or services. (Ex. Jeep, Harley-Davidson)
- Ethical Admirer: This customer admires your brand’s ethical stance, which aligns with theirs. This might be a campaign against a social problem, dedication to sustainability, or contribution to human rights activities. They won’t use competitors, will share your good works on social media, and will buy your other products simply because they support your company. (ex TOMS shoes, Patagonia )
How to Encourage Brand Evangelism
To encourage brand evangelism, the brand must become more than a brand. It must forge an emotional connection with consumers. Brand evangelism might start with an appreciation for the functionality or image of a brand, which can create a loyal customer. However, an evangelist goes out of their way to talk about the brand, which occurs when they feel a connection.
There are many ways to forge a strong connection with consumers, and which is best will depend on who your ideal customers are. You must have a good understanding of this market, including demographic information, as well as what they care about, how they think, and challenges they face. For example, Millennials are more likely to pay more for sustainable products, indicating a strong environmental stance may resonate with this group especially. However, these initiatives are less likely to inspire brand evangelism in older or younger demographics, and might even turn some customers away.
With a good understanding of your customers, you’ll be able to choose which of these strategies is best for inspiring brand evangelism.
- Create a Strong Brand Identity: Get a good understanding of your customers’ identity, what they want to display to the world, and how your brand might fit in. Use attributes that your customers aspire to or exemplify, such as toughness, prestige, or environmental stewardship.
- Perform Extraordinary Customer Service: Great customer service starts with the people who interact with your customers everyday. Give your staff the tools, power and training to go above and beyond for customers, and make it clear that you want them to do so.
- Highlight Customer Stories: Show that you are listening to your customers. Create closeness by highlighting their stories on social media, through your blog, or testimonial videos.
- Align Your Interests with Your Customers: Customers are more tapped into social and environmental issues than ever. If you feel that this will make a strong impact on your customer base, show support for causes that your customers support.
- Consider Your Employees: Happy employees are your first and best ambassadors. When you create a positive work environment, your employees can pass their positive experience on to customers. Above-and-beyond customer service is unlikely to happen if your employees are unhappy.
- Create a Community: Brand evangelists have the potential to drive communities and movements. Help your fans connect and foster a community around your brand. This might include giving free products to established groups, creating a community forum, or creating a loyalty program for club members.
Understanding how customer evangelism happens is just as important as understanding what customer evangelism is. Consider your customers carefully when working on earning these super fans. If you can meet their needs and go above and beyond as you do it, you might find yourself with a loyal and enthusiastic following.
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