Over the past few years, one woman has captured the hearts of children and adults alike with her honesty, bravery, and passion. Her name is Katniss Everdeen, lead character of the Hunger Games series. What is it about Katniss that has everyone entranced? She’s authentic. She’s passionate. And she’s the ultimate advocate.
Imagine if every organization was filled people like Katniss, who believed in the mission and would support it and spread the organization’s message. More importantly, imagine what type of support you’d get from fans, customers, and influencers for having that type of advocate by your side.
So what makes Katniss the ultimate advocate and what qualities should you look for in your own brand advocates?
Katniss wins over audiences everywhere with her down to earth, real personality. In the first book of the Hunger Games series, Katniss is very nervous before going on stage for her interview. Her designer, Cinna, advises her to be herself and pretend that she’s only talking to him, not an audience of strangers. She doesn’t have to pretend to be anything she’s not. And what happens when she goes on stage? She’s a hit with the audience. She’s nervous but her authenticity comes through and the audience embraces her.
This is exactly what good brand advocates do. They don’t force anything when talking about their company. They make real connections within their personal social networks and don’t change themselves just because they’re talking about their company. Don’t encourage your advocates to be anything but themselves. Their authenticity will come across to prospects, customers, and fans, and they’ll better connect with your advocates and your brand.
She understands the power of social
Katniss wasn’t tweeting her way through the hunger games (although that would have been a handy way to interact with sponsors #pleasesendfood #hungergames). However, every moment of the games was captured by video cameras that the districts then watched religiously. Katniss understood how she could send a big message in a small way with those cameras.
In the Hunger Games, when Rue, the young girl from District 11 is killed, Katniss wants to make a point to the Capitol and everyone watching. She pays her respects by surrounding Rue with flowers and giving the District 12 hand gesture, which signifies respect and admiration. Katniss’s display sparks the beginning stages of a revolution in District 11. She used a public forum to send a message to connect with other districts and show that she wasn’t just “a piece in the games.” She understood how powerful a simple message can be amplified once shared, especially if the initial message is honest and authentic, just like her gesture to Rue and her district.
When your advocates want to speak on your behalf, they should take to social. It’s simple, it’s personal, and can reach large audiences. It’s simple, because many of your employees are likely already on social networks. The personal touch comes from both sending out messages to those they already know within their networks, and from making one-to-one connections within those networks. Possibly the greatest power of social, one that Katniss certainly recognized, is the ability to amplify messages to spur action. You might not be leading a revolution, but it would still be great to have more people see your content, hear about your brand, and feel compelled to click on your Call to Action, right?
Her passion is unmatched
Katniss’s passion for the districts and for the wellbeing of their people is infectious. It’s so overwhelming that the President worries about the effects of her passion on the districts. He warns her of the consequences of sparking that type of energy and fire across the districts, because he understands that passion fuels action.
And indeed it does. SPOILER ALERT (if you’ve been hiding out for the past few years and haven’t made it to Mockingjay yet): Katniss eventually becomes the ultimate advocate for the rebellion against the Capitol. She takes her place as the symbol of passion and courage in the uprising and inspires others to support the cause.
Your brand advocates need passion. However, not all of your employees will be as bold or outspoken about their passion for your company. You can help give them the confidence to do so by giving them brand-safe content and the necessary guardrails they need to know what’s appropriate to share on social media (like a social media policy). Employee advocacy platforms simplify the content curation and sharing process, and allow you to easily track advocacy efforts.
If you want to encourage advocacy, find the Katniss (or Katniss’s) within your organization. Look for those who are genuine, understand social, and are passionate about your brand. Provide encouragement and a platform that simplifies employee advocacy, and let those who are as bold and vocal as Katniss lead the way. Soon others who are equally passionate but not as outspoken will want to advocate for your company too. And then, may the odds of powerful brand advocacy be ever in your favor.
If you want to learn more about how to encourage the Katniss’s within your organization, download our Employee Advocacy primer to get started.