What Brand Evangelism Really Means — and Why It’s So Important

What Brand Evangelism Really Means — and Why It’s So Important

So, is your business benefiting from brand evangelism? What we're getting wrong The dictionary defines evangelism, in part, as having to do with "zeal, purpose or activity." It's fine to give people the title of "evangelist" within your company if you want, but what really matters is the actions these individuals take in spreading the word about the problem your brand is solving and about the community you're building. Related: Savvy Startups Like Casper and Brandless Are Investing in Brand Image First -- and You Should, Too The real starting line Evangelism isn't something to be decided on down the road; it should actually be in the DNA of the founding team from the get-go. As a matter of fact, having a community who believes in the problem and feels part of the solutions is better than having a solution with no customers. Each has become a category leader in its own right, building vibrant communities through their actions of evangelizing the problem they solve. And Hubspot brings together 24,000-plus people purely due to evangelism of the problem it's solving, followed by the product (not preceded by it). In fact, I'd argue that this can be measured by your market caps compared to the second in your category without community and evangelism. Can I be a brand evangelist? By focusing on the problem you're solving, building a community of like-minded folks who are passionate about getting this problem solved and then making them part of the solution -- you make the story bigger, and your brand too.

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Evangelism isn’t something to be decided on down the road; it should actually be in the DNA of your founding team from the get-go.

What Brand Evangelism Really Means -- and Why It's So Important

Have you ever heard someone describe themselves as a “brand evangelist”? What was your response — maybe an eye roll, a laugh or a little bit of intrigue? It’s not surprising if you’ve heard someone use this term, or even used it yourself. The concept of brand evangelism has picked up steam in recent years, and is now fairly common jargon. But, it’s also a lot more than that. It’s a movement and an approach that can actually help accelerate and grow businesses.

So, is your business benefiting from brand evangelism? It can — and should — be. But, first, you must understand what exactly brand evangelism is.

What we’re getting wrong

The dictionary defines evangelism, in part, as having to do with “zeal, purpose or activity.” And most people know that the term “evangelism” has religious roots, usually referring to people who spread their beliefs enthusiastically and consistently to others. So, it makes sense that business folks have borrowed the term, and repurposed it to describe a deep commitment to advocating for a brand.

Microsoft, HP, Adobe and many other companies even have official “brand evangelists” on their payrolls, using these people to stir up interest in their company as an employer. But, when we talk about brand evangelism, it’s not just about HR and it’s definitely not about talking about your product. Either of these approaches is dead wrong.

Here’s what evangelism really is — or should be: It’s about clarifying the problem, building a community around the philosophy of the solution (not your product) and making it possible for people to be part of the solution. It’s fine to give people the title of “evangelist” within your company if you want, but what really matters is the actions these individuals take in spreading the word about the problem your brand is solving and about the community you’re building.

Related: Savvy Startups Like Casper and Brandless Are Investing in Brand Image First — and You Should, Too

The real starting line

Evangelism isn’t something to be decided on down the road; it should actually be in the DNA of the founding team from the get-go. Since the focus is primarily on the problem you’re solving, building a community of believers and your philosophy around best practices, the timing of evangelism isn’t dependent…

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