Brand Advocacy vs Employee Advocacy
Many modern marketing tools such as influencer marketing are based on age-old methods of promotion such as word-of-mouth. The fundamentals rarely change, instead the tools we use to apply them do. Similarly, brand and employee advocacy are not new things. Yet changes in how we communicate have seen them become an increasingly important part of ambitious businesses strategies. In this article, we take a look at brand advocacy and employee advocacy, then ask – which one is best?
What is Brand Advocacy?
If you are interested in marketing and business then you have probably already heard the term ‘brand advocacy’ being thrown about. This type of advocacy refers to external brand stakeholders who actively promote the brand through word of mouth. This can be done in several ways including:
- Online reviews
- Making personal recommendations of friends and family
- Posting about a product or brand experience on social media or forums
- Directly contacting the brand with positive feedback
- Creating content featuring or recommending the product
These positive interactions with others help bring your brand to potential customers and develop the trust needed to make sales. Understanding who your brand advocates are can help you take part in the conversations happening about your brand. When you know who advocates your brand, you can also offer those individuals the tools they need to reach others in an informed and compelling way.
Benefits of Brand Advocacy
Many of the benefits of brand advocacy are clear, others are less well recognised. Here are just some:
- Usually free or very cost-effective brand promotion
- Natural content creation
- Trust developed through real-life experience
- Increases brand reach
- Allows others to educate your audience
- Can increase direct sales
- Provides your products and services with social proof
- Offers user-generated content that can be leveraged through other channels
- Helps to create a strong brand community
- Reduces customer service and reputation management costs
What is Employee Advocacy?
If brand advocacy relates to advocacy by stakeholders external to a brand (customers), then employee advocacy refers to advocacy by stakeholders internal to the brand (employees). In many ways, brand and employee advocacy are very similar.
For example, employee advocates are those who would proactively share brand content and marketing messages on their own marketing channels as well as potentially recommend the brand to friends and family.
Businesses that take employee advocacy seriously will invest in making it easy for their employees to actively promote the brand. This could induce anything from offering them social media training to regularly sending out social media assets for use on their platforms.
Benefits of Employee Advocacy
Just like brand advocacy, employee advocacy comes with a host of powerful benefits. It:
- Provides advocates with a deep understanding of the brand
- Provides advocates with direct access to marketing materials
- Is easier to monitor communications
- Gives your brand a human face
- Increases brand engagement and trust
- Allows employees to collect and give direct feedback to the business
- Allows employees to directly collect leads
- Helps generate good PR such as speaking engagements
- Promotes your workplace to potential talent
- Increases employee motivation and reduces marketing costs
Employee vs Consumer Advocacy
So, which is better?
The answer is obvious – they are both fantastic. Using both brand advocacy and employee advocacy in tandem is a powerful way to drive brand engagement across all channels. Ultimately, brand advocates offer you a genuine and natural way to develop trust with your audience. On the other hand employee, advocates can provide your brand with a human face and act as a great channel of communication.
The pursuit of brand and employee advocacy helps businesses focus on what matters most. A brand advocacy approach puts the customer at the heart of everything you do and pushes you to offer the best possible products and customer service. When businesses focus on employee advocacy they invest in educating their employees and giving them the tools they need to grow.
Brand & Employee Advocacy: Summary
It is clear that both brand and employee advocates are powerful tools for businesses. By using the information in this article you could create a strong business case for investing in both an employee and brand advocacy program for your own company.