Why Customers Become Brand Fans and Advocates

The benefit of cultivating brand advocates is that they like the way you do things, not just what you do.

When you ask people why they like Apple products, occasionally you’ll hear someone hail the sleekness of their iPod design or the reliability of their iPhones. But most often, you’ll hear people talk about the Apple aesthetic. People like they way they do business. They like the emphasis on the customer and the drive behind their innovations.

Simply put, they like the way Apple thinks.

That is the secret behind their branding. Apple has built, not just a reputation for quality but, an entire personality. People are loyal to the brand because they like what comes along with the products: The presentations from the late Steve Jobs, the refusal to sacrifice good looks for functionality, and the constant drive to deliver the next best thing.

Consumers become brand fans because they identify with, and admire, a company.


What’s Your Why?

A big part of getting people to like your brand is first understanding why you’re in business. Spoiler alert: You won’t win brand fans if that reason is solely to make money.

The why statement is a chance for you to explain “why” you do what you do. Every company should have one. Although it’s a guiding principle for your day-to-day and long-term goals, it doesn’t necessarily have to say everything your company does. A great “why” statement should be: aspirational, inspirational, relatable, and original.

The last thing you want to do with your why statement is to bloviate or use unnecessary industry jargon. Your why statement may be a reflection of why you started your company in the first place, and while your offerings may have changed from the day you opened, your motivation probably hasn’t. Think about that when creating your why statement, and post it around the office, and in key marketing communications, for everyone to see. You will reach more people by openly communicating and adhering to it.


Why Statements and Company Descriptions

A why statement is a critical guidepost for your company, but it’s not a company description. In fact, you don’t even have to mention, in your why statement, what your company does. For instance, Mr. Rooter plumbing emphasizes its “World Class Customer Service™”; nothing is mentioned about plumbing. Google confirms its mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Again, there’s no explicit mention of Google being a search engine.

At a certain point, of course, you do need to explain what products and services you offer and why they are valuable. But that’s what draws people to you at the beginning. What will make a customer stay is your “why” and the associated level of customer experience.


Buying vs. Believing

When you buy from a brand, you don’t necessarily believe in it. For example, you may stop at Walmart on the way home from work because you have a terrible headache and it’s the closest place to purchase aspirin, even though you disagree with the store’s corporate policies.

When you believe in a brand, you will often go a step further. You don’t just buy, you ascribe to their approach in business and beyond. For example, someone might buy from Chipotle not because they love burritos, but because the company supports local farmers and pays workers a livable wage. That is the benefit of cultivating brand advocates: they like the way you do things, not just what you do.

This is a desirable market position because it can win you more customers in the long run. Brand fans can even become brand evangelists on your behalf. You want people talking up your brand to others, offering voluntary testimonials on your behalf, and encouraging others to try your product. All of this will contribute to your company’s success.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Savannah Flynn is a public relations specialist for WebpageFX, a full-service Internet marketing, web design and web development agency offering integrated web solutions for medium to large sized businesses across the globe. She has a passion for online marketing and PR.


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