In the beginning your customer will be unaware of your brand. It is through a process of awareness, research, and involvement that you can transform these customers into your best advocates. There are five different stages of customers experiencing your brand, and if you manage to get these right they will begin to trust your brand.
At this stage the customer will first come across your brand; they may just hear about it and not purchase it at this time. The fact that they have heard the message will mean that the information will be stored in their subconscious.
This is when the customer decides to research different brands within a category they are interested in. At this stage they might ask friends for advice as well as checking out advertisements in magazines and articles on the web. They wish to make an informed assessment so they are seeing what is on offer from the different companies. They are seeing which offering is most likely to work well for them.
The customer should now have a short list of the brands that have managed to grab their attention. They will now actually go to a store and see how well the product lives up to what has been said about it during their research. At this stage the customer is beginning to form a preference. If what they have read about the brand seems true then they are likely to develop some trust towards it.
Here the customer may start to regularly purchase this brand, of if they are unhappy with their purchase they will go back to trying other brands. The more they have positive experiences with a brand the greater will be their loyalty to it. This leads to an emotional attachment forming with the brand and feeling a sense of passion and loyalty towards it.
What happens here is that there passion becomes so high that they want to share it with other people. They are now a brand advocate who will bring other people to the brand. They will do this be passing on their story of how the brand has made their life better in some way.
The iPhone example of how this process works
You will find many people these days who are passionate advocates of the iPhone. They will have no problem telling others about their positive experience with the brand and all the great benefits that come with being an iPhone owner. They are willing to proudly demonstrate to others all the cool things that their iPhone can do. It is hard to ignore their passion and zeal for the brand. Due to all of this the iPhone has become really popular with the product selling out and people willing to wait weeks for one.