The Rumors are True: Brand Advocates > Influencers

Let’s face it, if the digital world were to have an established ‘Royal Family’, influencers would easily reign supreme. Here are some quick facts of the growing power of influencers and the ad power they hold:

  • Google Trends shows that the growth of influencer marketing has taken over from traditional marketing strategies
  • 51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing
  • 59% of micro-influencers think Instagram is the most effective social media platform to engage their target audience
  • Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing

As a result, working with influencers has become incredibly expensive and at times risky for brands to manage. Are you looking for a cheap and cheerful way around these financial and branding roadblocks? Invest in turning your top social fans into your brand advocates. It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one, so why not reward and celebrate the customers you already have? Brand advocates are 5 times more valuable than average customers because they spend more and recommend more. Brand advocates are slowly becoming priceless marketing tools based on organic relationships built with the corporation’s social and marketing team.

If this is a new concept for you, here is how you can identify 3 potential different tiers of brand advocates from your social database:

Fan: Adores and collects your product. Shares and reposts your content and offers feedback.

Fanatic: Lives for your product and personally identifies with your brand. Feels an emotional connection and shares these sentiments with others.

Brand Advocate: All of the above, PLUS enough social clout to motivate purchasing decisions through their own network. Worth the investment.




“Excuse me waiter, but this Pepsi is FLAT.”

Unless you are currently in the midst of a social media detox, you have probably already heard all about Pepsi’s recent marketing and PR blunder. Late last week, Pepsi unveiled a new ad featuring the fashion world’s it-girl, Kendall Jenner. The ad follows Kendall as she joins a crowd of young people marching (without cause, it seems) after abandoning a photo shoot. Taking off her blonde wig and smearing her plum lipstick, Kendall picks up a Pepsi as her contemporaries of all races and orientations smile at her. That’s when the Kendall approaches a line of policemen monitoring the protest and hands a handsome officer a Pepsi. Of course, he takes a sip, prompting the crowd to erupt in cheers.

If you haven’t heard seen the ad, check it out above!

The greatest injustice in the ad believed by many is directed towards the Black Lives Matter Movement. Bernice King, daughter of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, tweeted: “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.” There are undeniable similarities and the imagery seems to recreate a significant moment in a protest when young woman, Ieshia Evans, stoically stood up to armed police officers in Baton Rouge while protesting the deadly police shooting of Alton Sterling. Here is the legendary photo of Ieshia along with the image of Kendall Jenner offering a police officer a Pepsi which appears in the ad:



Within 24 hours, Pepsi pulled the ad but the damage has already been done. In a humbling statement, the soft drinks leader apologized saying: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

Pepsi Co. has come off as ‘tone-deaf’ in attempt to be hip and make the most of the marches during the racial protest movement. Many of us are left scratching our heads, not able to comprehend why a brand of this stature would not do its due diligence and market research to gage the type of response this ad could possibly receive.

Many brands like Pepsi have been in similar situations (also recently in the news, Nivea pulled their ‘White Is Purity’ campaign after widespread backlash). Pepsi will undoubetely recover from this PR nightmare and hopefully this will be a lesson for their team as well as other marketers and communicators. A organization needs to clearly identify their core values and messages to align with their their marketing strategy. Clearly, this strategy has to be supported with research and consumer surveys, not just what ‘in’ and trending.