Last year’s Advofest conference saw industry leaders come together to share experiences and lessons about brand advocacy. The topics that were covered included optimising the customer experience, building a community and allowing customers to co-create content.

Jamelia Donaldson, founded TreasureTress as a discovery box for women with frizzy hair, but it has grown into a thriving beauty community.

She has been able to pinpoint six areas in which it has excelled when engaging with its customers. These are welcoming dialogue, listening to and observing customers, building a community, taking on board feedback, and adopting necessary changes.

Holding a dialogue and listening to the response

In marketing it is important to view interactions with customers as a dialogue rather than a monologue. This means that companies need not only to consider their message to customers, but also customers’ messages to them.

TreasureTress has applied this by giving its customers the opportunity to have a say in regular Instagram polls. For example, when TreasureTress puts on an event it asks its followers what they want it to look like and how it can provide the most value. Thus, events become user-generated experiences and customers feel a sense of ownership.

However, holding a dialogue is not enough unless customers are being listened to. The results of dialogues must be acted on, otherwise the strategy is redundant. Customers will always try to make themselves heard, but this is no use unless brands really listen.

Jamelia points to the example of Adidas and Run-DMC. The group’s song ‘My Adidas’ brought popularity to the brand in hip-hop circles, even wearing Adidas clothes to concerts. Adidas initially did not listen to this category of its audience, but once it became aware of its cult following it proved very lucrative.

Adidas had always had a following in these circles, but the brand was unable to maximise this potential until it listened to its customer base.

Marketing must evolve beyond a monologue to a dialogue/megalogue

Steve StouteAuthor of The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy

Observing customer trends

For companies to grow, they must continue to interact with customers after the point that a sale is made. It is vital to observe how customers interact with the product so that this can shape the marketing strategy.

For TreasureTress, it was customers’ fascination with unboxing culture which really caught the eye, as customers would share their experiences of opening products on social media. Jamelia noted how this had been successful for companies such as Fenty, Rihanna’s beauty line, which reshared the best of their fans’ content to spread the word at no cost.

TreasureTress adopted this concept by incorporating the trend into its own marketing strategy, transforming customers into micro-influencers. Each customer now receives a discount code which they can share with friends each time they make a purchase. By observing its customers, TreasureTress capitalised on an existing trend which became a central aspect of its marketing strategy.

Trusting the community and adopting its feedback

To instil genuine loyalty in customers, each individual must be treated as a ‘friend’. Businesses rely on these relationships, especially when customers become advocates. This means the community must be trusted to shape the community and the brand.

By building the company culture around the customers, these relationships will be far stronger as everything is tailored towards them. For example, Gucci’s partnership with ‘Dapper Dan’ created a greater brand affinity with its customers as it showed that attention was being paid to individuals.

TreasureTress truly implements this idea, as ordinary customers are encouraged to be the poster girls for the brand. Subscribers are trusted to shape the brand, even being given a blank canvas to set up a pop-up shop. Meanwhile, the community’s feedback is always welcome so that TreasureTress can continue to improve the customer experience.

By adopting these measures, businesses can emulate the incredible growth that has been generated at TreasureTress. You can watch Jamelia’s full talk below:

By following Jamelia’s six simple steps, companies will be able to create a loyal community which can generate self-sustainable growth. We appreciate Jamelia taking time out of her busy schedule to speak at Hyve’s Advofest, where we celebrate the power of brand advocacy.

Follow our Advofest’s official Instagram and Twitter pages for more information, and visit the Advofest website.

John Sewell

Author John Sewell

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