Brand evangelism is something critical to business.
It’s the act of having customers and promoters so in love and so trusting of what you do that they’re excited to tell the world about it.
It is of course the most effective and trusted form of marketing.
The word evangelism is tightly linked to the Christian faith, and whilst I’m not a particularly religious person, I know that business can learn a lot from the way in which religion operates.
Imagine if you could get people believing so strongly in your product or service that they passionately tell others about it of their own free will…
The free will part here is important. People aren’t being enticed by money or incentives, they’re down it because the whole heartedly believe in you and in your business’s values and ethics.
The most famous, if not first user of the term evangelism for marketing was Guy Kawasaki, “chief evangelist” at Apple.
Justin Bieber labels his fans as ‘beliebers’ – and if you haven’t yet noticed, in the eyes of these ‘beliebers’ Justin can do no wrong.
So what are the 5 actions you can apply to create evangelists for your business?
1. Set the narrative
People connect with what you stand for if you have a story that’s relevant to them. Be clear with your narrative. The best way to do this is to have an easily accessible set of ‘key messages’ that stands the test of time. They’ll likely be messages that you’ll get bored of well before your ‘believers’ do. Then show examples/proof of how those key messages relate directly to the lives of your target customers and how your business delivers on these key messages.
2. Know your audience
What do they need? When are you most important to them? If you don’t know the answers to these basic questions, then your brand is unlikely to find a space in their mind and will have no chance of finding a space in their heart which is where evangelism lives.
3. Be consistent
The only time most religions come under attack is when they’re seen to have double standards (although the evangelism amongst believers is usually high enough to negate the occasional slip up).
Only through consistency will people feel comfortable enough to sing your praises, because they have to be sure that what they experienced is what their friend is likely to experience.
4. It’s a science of emotions
If anyone has ever been to a church service, especially the more modern churches, you’ll see that many resemble a rock concert. The music has highs for inspiration and aspiration, and lows that conjure the chance to reflect on where you’re at in life.
Every part of the service from the video screens, to the lighting, to the tone of the ministers voice is perfectly timed, to deliver the narrative properly and to reach out to the emotions of the audience. Many pyramid selling schemes, and even corporate speakers also utilise the same techniques to ensure people are engaged with the purpose of being there. It’s not trickery, it’s just plain smart.
How is your business engaging with the emotional journey of your audience?
5. Know how you’re making the world a better place
The thing about religion, despite the fact that religions tend to have both positive and negative outcomes, is that people are driven to take whatever action they’re taking because they intently believe they’re making the world a better place.
Let’s be clear what some people see as loving, others see as evil, but the common thread is that both sides are doing it because they believe it makes the world better. So, how is your product or service improving the world? Know it, show examples of it and keep it clear in your messaging.
Business can learn a lot from religion. And it shouldn’t be assumed that people of faith already know the tips above. In fact because they’re within the cycle, they may even be less likely to see it, or if they’re aware they may just never have thought of transferring the key principles to business.
Word of mouth marketing is always the most effective marketing. It’s less about what you advertise, and much more about your values and key messages experienced through touch points that will bring customers inbound.