I found myself going in search of Edelman data I’d heard about some months back that I thought could be useful in building up a case for our customer advocacy program.
I was surprised what I dug up.
Numbers that showed academics and experts are considered the most trusted sources on your company or brand. And that’s where there appears a disconnect. I don’t know too many companies that have active influencer programs for this sector. Most concentrate on press and analyst relations. And I’m especially surprised to see analysts that far down the list.
So what can you do to build advocacy among academics? If you haven’t already, build relationships with those that have incorporated your products or services into their courses. Feature them in interviews and invite them to your events or ask them to give their opinion on new product launches. If you don’t know which academics you should be reaching out to, start with those who are teaching subjects around your area of expertise. And don’t forget the business schools. You can mentor students, offer case studies, guest lecture, just to name a few opportunities.
As an aside, this just goes to show there is a sliver of merit in the practice of coming up with an assertion and then finding fact-based evidence to back it up: occasionally you may surprise yourself in what you uncover. I certainly didn’t expect what I found here 😉
BTW, I do think these kind of surveys should be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, what we say we do doesn’t always match up with the behavior we see in the digital realm. Google wouldn’t be the cash cow it is today if the surveys were true and virtually no one clicked on search ads.