Definition:

When customers feel so strongly about a brand or product that they will not only recommend the brand to others, but will freely work to convince other consumers that the brand is superior to others in the marketplace.

Brand evangelists spread their beliefs about a brand due to a previously positive experience with the brand. Because they are not compensated, they are perceived to be more trustworthy and credible because their motivations lie within a shared derivation of benefits instead of monetary compensation.


History:

The concept of evangelism marketing was first put forth by Guy Kawasaki in his books “The Are of the Start” (2004) and “How to Drive your Competition Crazy” (1996). With the advent of Social Networking, evangelism marketing has become a major factor where organizations compete to spread their influence through the social networks of their customers.


Building Brand Evangelists:

There are several steps to create brand evangelists out of existing (or future) customers:

  1. Product Adoption: Consumers must be truly satisfied and impressed with the product or service.
  2. Brand Loyalty: Consumers must choose the brand over competing products or brands and believe in the benefits the brand or product hold.
  3. Ownership: The consumer must perceive a shared benefit with the success of the product or brand, and want to associate their credibility with the product.
  4. Brand Advocacy: The consumer must recommend the benefits to those in his or her network of consumers, typically to the people they care most about.


Internet Platforms for Brand Evangelism:

Customer feedback sites have become more and more important as consumers look to the internet for insights into product / brand performance. Examples of product / service feedback websites include and Yelp! and Angie’s List.


Brand Evangelism and Social Media:

Social media has proven to be a strong multiplier of Brand Advocacy effectiveness due to the increased breadth of consumer engagement. Networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest have spread the enabled the individual consumer to have an infinitely stronger platform for brand advocacy effectiveness.


Advantages:

• Low cost advertising compared to other marketing campaign efforts

• Studies have shown that brand evangelists spend up to 50% more revenue (individually) than a non-brand evangelist customer.

• True evangelists refer close to 45% of their (individual) revenue to the brand.

• Brand Evangelists actively look for ways to improve the brand or products – and provide feedback.


Disadvantages:

• Poor product design / poor customer service / product experience can lead to negative brand / product association.

• Lack of control over the marketing message and method of distribution.


References:

• Kawasaki, Guy. The Art Of The Start. New York: Penguin Group, 2004

• John H. Fleming PhD, Jim Asplund, Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter, Gallup Press, 2007