Advocacy brainstorming – Part 2/3 Marketing theory applied to advocacy

Read Advocacy Brainstorming

Part 1/3: The power of the social individual

Part 3/3: Customer Advocacy


After bouncing ideas back and forth between us, we sought the input of one of our team members, Luca Massaro. He sees social media from the psychological perspective of how employees and customers are motivated to engage online. We felt that incorporating that point of view would greatly enrich our programme.

So we all met up to brainstorm, and just as we were getting revved up about advocacy, Luca pretty much immediately shut us all up as he started to explain some psychological fundamentals of human behaviour…

Luca’s adoring crowd, the SoMazi team

First he familiarised us with the behaviour change cycle, commonly applied to health-related behaviours. These are the stages as applied to customer marketing:

What companies (should) try to do is to keep customers in a cycle of 3, 4 and 5, while avoiding stage 6, Social Relapse, where the customer goes back to stage 1 of indifference.

Some business sectors, such as mobile networks and fitness gyms, for example, focus mostly on stage 4 instead of stage 5.  This is because they’re content with having sold just one unit, which in their case are normally contracts lasting many months or even years. To them, getting new customers is more important than keeping the old ones happy. But they, as well as most companies in other sectors, should constantly map their products and create a cycle where new products are introduced while still working on the loyalty scheme of an old product.

The ultimate goal is to get as many customers as possible in stage 5. Loyal customers who’ve associated themselves with the brand, are much more valuable to a company than new ones, who just buy a product once and are not incentivised to stay engaged with the company. This is especially true in hard economic times, where trust in a company is not the only deciding factor.

In the social media context, gamification techniques are used to keep people engaged, i.e. stay in the 3-5-stage loop. These stages become, as Luca phrased it, a Trigger-Action-Reward loop.

When applied to employee advocacy, the loop looks like this:

1.  Trigger.  The right communication is the key to triggering action, which in the social media world includes:

  • posts and mentions from the right people (influencers)
  • easy-to-access additional information
  • links to other websites

2.  Action.  The actions you want your employees to take might centre around:

  • collaborating with each other internally (e.g., through enterprise social networks)
  • engaging with each other and the outside world on company-related matters
  • sharing information and mentions of the company products to their social circles and inviting them to engage further (through visiting the website, etc.)

3.  Reward.  The most active employees get rewards, which can be tied to:

  • performance evaluation
  • recognition from peers
  • pride and social status within company

…and repeat.  Each time, the specifics of the loop change, just like a video game where you reach higher and higher levels.

The same principles can be applied to customer advocacy. On Monday, we are going to delve deeper into how this can be done.


Read Advocacy Brainstorming

Part 1/3: The power of the social individual

Part 3/3: Customer Advocacy