Transforming your customers into brand advocates…


Earlier this month, I was invited to be a part of ADVOFEST, part of the Birmingham Tech Week. Speaking on a panel alongside Ben Freeborn, Kate Hamer, Jerry Angrave, Sue Kong on the topic of: ‘How to turn your customers into brand advocates’; something TreasureTress has organically done throughout our journey thus far, almost accidentally!

To embark onto a journey of transforming your customers into brand advocates, here are the key points that would be of help.

6 Steps to Transforming your Brand Advocates

1) Dialogue

2) Listen

3) Observe

4) Adopt

5) Feedback

6) Culture

1) Dialogue

Steve Stoute said it best when he highlighted that traditional methods of marketing are nothing more than monologues – marketing managers, founders and social media manager speaking to noone but themselves and listening to no-one but themselves. A vital ingredient for a successful and noteable brand in the digital world is a two-way consistent and honest exchange between the customer and those working internally on the brand.

This is true for not only product launches, re-brands but also offline activations.

As a bootstrapped start-up it is safe to say that I’ve exhausted every free service offered by Google! One of my favourites being Google Forms to capture opinions and direct feedback from consumers at events. I often share that your customers should be both your mentor and your investor and therefore should be the most vocal person on your team – yes above the CEO!

Decisions at TreasureTress are not made without validation from our audience. So we asked our subscribers at our pop up shop last year what they wanted to see next from TreasureTress – their answers were almost unanimously – ‘another pop up shop like this one’.

So what did we do? Began work right away in creating an even bigger and better pop up shop experience!

2) Listen

Another example shared in Steve Stoute’s ‘Tanning of America’ – is the story of ‘My Adidas’.

Adidas marketing executive Angelo Anastasio was invited to attend a RUN DMC concert at Madison Square Garden and couldn’t believe his eyes as hundreds of thousands of fans held up their adidas trainers (without laces) just as pictured here (see deck). Little did the marketing team at Adidas know that a movement, song and fashion trend had been created by this trio without their input or knowledge.

They were able to strike up a deal with RUN DMC a decision which ultimately saved Adidas from at the time extinction. (Let’s not talk about their failure to bring the trio on creatively on a larger scale to save them from future missteps)

The key point here being Angelo anastasio was CURIOUS and listened ( literally to their music) and figuratively – listened to the demands, behaviour and culture of the consumer.

3) Observe

What are your customers doing with your products? How are they interacting with your products?

We noticed that each time a new box arrived, our notifications were spammed with unboxing videos, tutorials and hair demonstrations.

So what did we do? We began reposting, sharing, and creating our own content to encourage our community to do so on an even larger scale. User generated content is GOLD!

And of course it is impossible to talk about observing consumers and taking it even further – making them feel seen without mentioning – Fenty.

Few come close to Rihanna’s Navy and the die hard fans of her makeup brand – FENTY.

If as consumers, users of the social media platform Instagram, tag fenty in a well lit picture of their BEAT (made-up) face using Fenty makeup, Fenty are likely to repost. Here we see them even reposting the caption!

Key points here being: customers need to feel SEEN AND HEARD! And secondly traditions are developing for brands with and without them realising.

Now at TreasureTress our new subscribers know that they too should show off the contents of their box on social media and Fenty MUA’s or product junkies know that they should follow the success of others – making up their face, snapping a cute photo and tagging the brand – to be featured on their page.

4) Adopt

Closely tied to the point above, what culture has been built around your brand?

Early on at TreasureTress, we thought our brand was about only about haircare products and product discovery – how wrong we were!

Deep down in the DNA of the brand, the team and our early events/subscribers it is about sisterhood and community.

Women were using our events to meet each other, learn about business, starts up, and finances. Our tribe were using hair as a conversation starter/entry point to discuss some of life’s larger issues, careers, relationships…you name it, they’ve spoken about it.

Again, I can’t reiterate enough – pay attention to what your customers are using your brand or product for.

Another example is the one and only Dapper Dan. If you don’t know who he is – Google him!

I had the pleasure of meeting this ultimate OG earlier this year after being captivated by this book – ‘Dapper Dan Made in Harlem’.

Starting his career “knocking up” (as he famously calls it), Gucci and Louis V designs to make each and every celebrity/rapper/drug dealer who walked through the doors of his boutique, a bespoke outfit; Dapper Dan quickly became Harlem’s most precious creative and fashion asset, known best by the rich and famous.

As he took orders, had conversations with customers and began to understand his customers personal style, he realised that everyone wanted their own design but wanted extravagant – one of a kind pieces.

Notice – now that everyone is talking about personalisation and how important it is for consumers? Dapper Dan caught onto this decades ago!

After endless lawsuits from luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, and spending some time underground to recover and rebuild his business. In 2018 Gucci and Dapper Dan collaborated to open a new brick and mortar boutique in Harlem.

Again, here I’d like to call out the fact that Gucci understood the connection Dapper Dan had to the community, fashion, celebrities and culture.

Gucci ADOPTED Dapper Dan as part of their family for his authentic experience with culture, music, fashion, personalisation and ability to merge them all together to create cult favourite pieces only worn but the most influential in the industry.

5) Feedback

What do your consumers want from you? What are they expecting next?

How immersed in the process of creation can you allow them to become?

After last years pop up shop, our attendees told us that they wanted more space, more panels, and more time.

So guess what? We have a bigger venue, a 3 days event and a top class schedule of panels to allow attendees to not only learn more about hair but also learn about other important skills such as branding, investment and start up culture.

We can’t mention feedback without mention of the beauty unicorn Glossier!

A hugely engaged audience, and well known unicorn brand in and beyond the beauty space, just look at how engaged their audience are. Instead of guessing where to sell their products,which market to launch in next and which products to lead with, look at their audience who are literally telling them what their next steps should be!

6) Culture

Last but by no means least, my favourite – CULTURE!

Allow data and insights to really help you here. All of our Pop Up Shop Promo has been iOs focused because majority (59.28%) of our audience have iphones/ use safari so its a communication style they use, are used to and appreciate.

How do you create, embrace and propel forward the culture created by your brand?

Find out who your customers really are, include them in campaigns, use tech and language that they recognise, get them involved in the creative process.

If you ever doubt the importance of knowing your consumer, knowing how to talk to them, and knowing what to release next? Look at SUPREME!!!

Starting as a skateboarding brand, now one of the most sought after cult brands with frequent (weekly!) queues of superfans waiting for new launches.

Skateboarding culture birthed something much greater – a truly cult following and relationship with their customers that can only be admired by most.

Culture – Honour it, invest in it. Promote it. One tip, understand that it isn’t something that can be learned, it can only be experienced – hire accordingly 😉

To know more about the journey, visit my instagram page or the Treasure Tress Website

Jamelia Donaldson

Author Jamelia Donaldson

More posts by Jamelia Donaldson

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