The Triangle of Trust: A balancing act for brands, Advocates and prospects

In a perfect world, what would you like to have your company’s Brand Advocates (the people who proactively recommend your brand or product without being paid to do) do for your business? Perhaps having your loyal customers share an exclusive offer with their friends and colleagues on Facebook, via email or on Twitter would move the needle? Maybe you would like additional reviews of your products on Amazon, Best Buy, or a higher star rating on Yelp to get more feet in the door? At the critical time of purchase, would having Advocates answer prospects questions help convert the sale?

According to Nielsen, 92% of customers trust Word of Mouth, and more than 90% of customers say that a Word of Mouth recommendation is the leading influence on their purchase decisions (source: Zocalo Group).

So, how do you tap into the power of Word of Mouth to connect your prospects and Brand Advocates?

Look to the Triangle of Trust – with Brand Advocates on one angle, prospects on the other, and your company on the third.

All three are connected (and communicating with each other), and everyone provides equal value in terms of rewards, recommendations and eventually revenue. When one side is out of balance and unconnected, the triangle falls apart.

An Example: Keeping it Balanced

Word of Mouth referrals are the #1 source of Club One’s, a nationally recognized leader in the fitness industry, memberships (at 45%), far surpassing other lead generation tactics – and they were not leveraging the power of Word of Mouth in a systematic way. In other words, Club One’s Triangle of Trust was missing a strong link from Advocates to prospects.

To bring their triangle back into balance, Club One Advocates (identified by using the Zuberance Advocate Platform) shared a complimentary 14-day guest membership with their social networks, which resulted in:

  • 2,154 prospect clicks
  • Just under 1,000 people took the trial offer
  • about a 100 signed up for a long term new membership
  • 9X Return On Advocacy (as measured by media and sales value)

These brand evangelists wanted to spread the word about Club One to prospects, and the company made it possible – which turned into a win-win for everyone.  Watch Club One’s Kari Bedgood talk about why it was so important to connect Advocates and prospects here.

Read the full Club One case study here.

Companies who connect with their Brand Advocates (who in turn evangelize their products and services to potential prospects) are tapping into a volunteer sales force with tremendous potential (and sustainability). In fact, there are over 60 million Brand Advocates in the US, and over 1 billion worldwide.

Above all else, nurture your customer relationships – remember, they are likely your most important source of leads.

So, how are you keeping your brand’s Triangle of Trust in balance?