More than the ability to repurchase, what defines the success of a brand at this turn of the decade is to win recommendations from its consumers. This is the definition of the advocacy concept, created by writer Philip Kotler in his book Marketing 4.0: From Traditional to Digital. The book defines advocacy as the moment when the customer becomes an ambassador and a defender of the brand’s values, resulting in a recommendation.
“The big change from the more traditional model is that you can and should consider relationships not only for the ability to repurchase but also for the customer’s ability to recommend”, says Juliano Ughini, Graduate Professor at FAE Business School, MSc. at King’s College London and Branding Consultant.
Ughini explains that this definition reflects the inversion of the traditional logic of Relationship Marketing, marked by a vertical and unidirectional link of the brand towards the consumer, to a multidirectional relationship, in which customers publicly and in various channels evaluate their satisfaction with the brand. This transformation explains the growing relevance of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a methodology that measures the degree of consumer loyalty of any type of business based on recommendations.
“You place an order on Ifood, you get the product, and with each purchase, you answer how likely you are to recommend it. And you choose the level of recommendation you want to give. Why should you do that? Because today the relationship dynamics are from a 360º perspective, from various platforms and meanings. It ceases to be unidirectional and becomes 360, or multichannel”, he explains.
In this dynamic scenario, with connected and demanding customers, how to keep the lovemark title?
For Alpargatas’ Global Marketing Director–the company responsible for the Brazilian sandals brand Havaianas–Fernanda Romano, the key is to know your public deeply and give consumers centrality in brand strategies, from choosing the details of the portfolios to solving a problem. “Performing all these actions allows us to test, learn, correct when necessary, and get it right. In this way, we can always have good conversations and bring experiences that meet and even exceed consumer expectations”, she says.
Exceeding these expectations also depends on the ability to identify details that are in the consumer’s routine but do not expect them to be noticed by the brand. “We can illustrate this with one of our most recent activations, which is Havaianas Friendly, when we institutionalized the use of Havaianas in corporate environments. Because we understand that many consumers spend a great deal of time at work, our invitation was: why not get comfortable in this environment, too? The movement is being a success and it shows our ability to anticipate trends”, says Fernanda.
The relationship details with the consumer matter. And it is not possible to master and handle them overnight. Building a lovemark depends on thorough and gradual work that is not compatible with haste. “A relationship is not developed in the short term. You do not create relationships by stacking short-term actions. Then comes patience, working consistently towards long-term feedback, not just financial payback”, says Ughini.
Translated by Jennifer Ann Koppe