The findings in the report are based on analysis of seven million social media mentions of 23 brands across Brazil, China, the UK and the US. It focused on five industries: hotels, fashion retailers, skincare, coffee and movies.

Of the five industries the report evaluated, skin care achieved the highest level of advocacy at 18%, followed by movies and coffee at 14%.

Advocacy levels by category

The fact that the results were fairly consistent across the categories indicates that all consumer industries need to be aware of the conversations occurring on social and the potential they have for impacting brand reputation.

To this end, the report gives four recommendations to help brands build advocacy…

Know and focus on your fans’ true advocacy inspirations

Advocacy isn’t the same as customer satisfaction, so it’s important to build programs that emphasise real advocacy drivers.

For example, the report shows that Holiday Inn’s breakfast tends to drive more advocacy that other hotels, while Kimpton’s bars are more often cited that those of other brands.

The businesses in question can then use this information to help inspire marketing campaigns and messaging.

Identify and use your brand’s differentiated advocacy drivers

Different brands have distinct advocacy strengths, i.e. things people talk about most for that brand. In order to stand out in the conversation brands then need to understand and emphasise these strengths.

For example, Kimpton and Kiehls achieved the highest levels of advocacy in the study but for different reasons. Kimpton’s advocates were focused on benefits and customer services, while Kiehls’ fans tended to discuss its product features.

Businesses need to “look carefully at the brand and competitive set to determine what could be the most effective advocacy driver.”

For global relevance, emphasise product features

Product features proved to be the number one driver of advocacy in each of the four countries included in the study. Therefore brands should focus on this area when designing global advocacy programs.

That said, market-level and brand-level data can help to further refine marketing messages. For example, in Brazil advocacy mentions also tend to reference cost.

Encourage and enable advocacy everywhere

The impact of advocacy can be increased in three ways: volume, passion and reach.

  • To drive volume, map out customer touchpoints and make it easier for advocacy to happen at any touchpoint.
  • To increase passion levels, use a process that identifies and encourages passionate customers to share more.
  • To amplify reach, use owned, earned and paid channels, including influencer engagement, employee communications, social content, websites, ads and email/CRM.