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Sarah Stratford

How to succeed in the most difficult phase of the customer buying journey

There are five phases to the customer buying journey – awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, advocacy – and many experts believe that the final one is the most difficult to get right. 

Executive Strategy Director, Sarah says: "Advocacy shouldn't be hard for brands to achieve. People become advocates of things they are happy to be publicly identified with, be that people, organisations or brands. So, building advocacy has little to do with communications tactics. All you need to do to build brand advocacy is to be the sort of brand that people are happy to be seen with. The start point for that has to be authenticity; do what you say you're going to do, do it well and do it consistently. Then provide people with the platform from which to sing your praises. 

First Direct has always been my default example of this. A brand built on the simple premise of removing the absurdities and injustices of banking that offers the sort of service customers deserve. The result? 1 in 3 of their new acquisitions come through customer referral.  

The simple answer to advocacy which is why in actual fact it eludes so many brands, is that you just need a clear and meaningful proposition that people value and to deliver it well. Then and only then will people be inclined to actively promote you to others."

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