It’s one thing for a brand to be used frequently by its consumers. When a brand is able to turn their consumers into advocates who market their products or services for them, they forge a more certain path to success. This journey begins with a solid product, service, or idea – but it most definitely doesn’t end there.
The qualities that make a brand loveable can vary, but there’s a trend in what separates truly engaging brands from the rest. It takes a quality product, service, or idea coupled with smart digital strategy and a genuine connection with consumers for a brand to create advocates out of loyal customers. We can all learn from four brands (American Express, Uber, Yelp, and Bad Yogi) that have transformed the way their audiences live their daily lives and have created brand advocates out of consumers by utilizing multi-channel digital strategies.
American Express Inspires Customers To Earn Rewards
Nearly every American Express marketing message that is created seems to act as a reminder of the endless opportunities available to us thanks to their credit cards and the rewards you accumulate by using them. Time and time again American Express permeates our thoughts with these messages through email, TV ads, YouTube videos and microsites dedicated to telling touching stories of their customers. American Express has created a culture around a piece of plastic that allows you to do the things you love. Their advantage is that they can afford to create countless, authentic digital touch points to tell the story of their consumers, but by finding lower budget ways to demonstrate how your customers can use your services in a unique way you can inspire other customers or potential customers to do the same.
Uber Turns Riders Into Party Hosts
Uber runs many digitally integrated campaigns. For example, its partnership with Spotify allows riders to play their own music while they ride. Now, Uber Events is expanding so that hosting an evening with your friends and securing safe rides home for everyone at the end of the night is easier than ever. Uber has leveraged its trusted email channel to carry this campaign. Uber Events allows hosts to create an event, receive Uber passes via email, and distribute them to friends in advance of their event. Hosts can use one code for all guests or create custom codes and event details so the codes are used on the right day. This is a smart digital strategy because Uber is using email and, essentially, referral codes (a digital channel and delivery method that consumers know and trust the brand to execute properly) to encourage consumers to use a service people may otherwise find overly complex. Additionally, Uber has found a way to get its consumers to tell others about its service by helping them host a fun evening. If your brand has an opportunity to serve customers in a way that is a bit unconventional, then utilize digital channels and strategies that your consumers already trust and are familiar with to execute the idea. Innovate with the lifestyle of your audience in mind, but always build off of the things you’re already good at.
Yelp Incentivizes Consumers Online & Offline
Yelp entices its users to write reviews in a few ways. At its most basic level, Yelp acts as a convenient record-keeping tool for users that tells users where they’ve been, what they liked and what they hated all in one place. Not to mention it acts as a reliable source for finding highly rated businesses for its consumers to try. With Yelp Elite Squad the company encourages users to post real reviews, photos and tips about what to do within their local community, and then nominate themselves or others to become part of the Yelp Elite. The benefit for the user is pretty straightforward; earn a special Yelp Elite badge for your profile, get invites to exclusive parties, and meet other Yelp Elites with similar interests. Yelp has created a status that provides real benefits to its users in a way they love. By rewarding actions that Yelp users would have taken without incentive at all, they’ve aligned customer interest with their business goals. An engaged user base and authentic reviews help Yelp gain more users and encourage businesses to use their services. Yelp is using offline incentives to drive online engagement, and it’s working. In Yelp’s Q3 financial update they reported page visits had grown 40 percent year-over-year and local advertising revenue totaled $115.9 million – a 36 percent growth compared to Q3 2014. Your brand can recreate some of Yelp’s strategy, by determining what aspects of your product or service are inherently useful or captivating for consumers and creating additional online and offline incentives to increase engagement.
Bad Yogi Gives Its Audience What They Want By Asking For Their Participation
Bad Yogi was founded to redefine yoga culture. It values people and practices that don’t fit the typical “yogi” mold. The founders struck a chord with a group of people who obviously felt the same way. Early on the Bad Yogi mantra was an idea and a 30-day Yoga Challenge hosted on YouTube. It has evolved into more than 100 videos, customized yoga courses, swag and a following of more than 100,000 Bad Yogis. The founders likely had some indication that they were on to an idea that many people would agree with, and they quickly pursued a few digital strategies which kept them on the right track. Since its founding in 2012, Bad Yogi videos have had more than 3 million views. Through engaging digital tactics, they get at the heart of what their audience wants from their brand. Bad Yogi regularly takes advantage of surveys, email promotions, and more recently Live via Facebook Mentions, which allows live video streaming capabilities for public figures on the platform. Bad Yogi uses Live for Q&A sessions with their audience. Sometimes these sessions are more focused on what is happening in the lives of the founders, but they also focus on what the Bad Yogi audience would like to see in future yoga-related videos that the team plans to create.
Making These Examples Work For You
The best brands, no matter their size, bring a sincere level of personal engagement to products or services that may otherwise be considered impersonal. Brands that find a way to make purchases a deliberate and celebrated decision for their consumers will always stay ahead of the pack. Find ways to connect with your consumers on a personal level. Then use the digital tactics you’re good at, the technology you have on hand, and consumer feedback and stories to create even better experiences that turn your consumers into active participants in your brand’s story.