As Sr. Director of Adoption and Engagement for Community Cloud, I spend a lot of time speaking with Community Cloud customers and Community Managers to learn how communities are driving real business value. In the last year I’ve been very interested in the topic of advocacy, something I think many communities can realize if managed successfully.

To start the conversation, let’s first define what is an advocate or, more importantly, a brand advocate. Here is a definition we found:

“A person who will act to help, protect & promote your brand or product without compensation”

There are many channels where we see advocates emerge, most notably social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). While these social channels can be important, there is an additional opportunity in online communities.  These communities are becoming the best environment to identify potential advocates and engage with them in ways not possible via social networks. We see examples of brand advocacy in our own Trailblazer Community, where our customers are answering each others questions, submitting ideas for how to improve our product, and building their own personal brand within the Salesforce ecosystem. It’s truly amazing!

At Dreamforce 2017 we organized a breakout session on this very topic of advocacy in communities and invited Leo Daley of Kronos to join us onstage to tell the story of how he’s seeing advocacy in his community, which he launched on Community Cloud in October 2016. Leo spoke about the role of advocates in the Kronos Customer Community. Even though the community is less than two years old, Leo shared some excellent examples of advocacy in their community.

Cesar: I’m a big believer in the opportunity to grow a company’s legion of fans and advocates via a community. I’m always interested in new examples of brand advocacy and the Kronos story is very interesting. Leo, can you tell us a little about Kronos and why you decided to launch a community in the first place?

Leo: Kronos offers the industry’s most powerful suite of software, hardware and services to manage and engage any organizations entire workforce from pre-hire to retire. Founded in 1977, Kronos now employs over 5,000 globally, and over 35 million people use Kronos solutions every day in over 100 countries. In fiscal 2017, revenue was $1.3B. Kronos is a great place to work and has won awards globally recognizing that commitment to its employees.

As part of a “customer-first” philosophy, Kronos has always focused on the customer experience and through 2017, has won the NorthFace ScoreBoard Omega Award for Customer Service Excellence 16 consecutive years. For years, we provided a home-grown web support portal for customers, but as support technology advanced, we knew we had to modernize the platform to improve our customer experience.

In 2015 we worked with Vanessa DiMauro’s Leader Networks to develop our community strategy, survey our customers and partners, and develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a customer community platform. Nearly 1,000 customers and partners responded to our survey, and while traditional support features topped the list of desired benefits, the ability to connect with others and the opportunity to influence Kronos products and services also were highly sought.  We ended up selecting Salesforce Community Cloud, and deployed the solution in about 5 months.


Survey of 981 Kronos customers and partners

Cesar: Congratulations on a successful launch, and I also commend you for the upfront research to help you determine the mission of your community. Let’s walk through a few examples of advocates in the Kronos Community. What are the top three examples of advocacy you’d like to share?

Leo:  The top form of advocacy we see is customers stepping up to help each other in the community. Our “top contributors,” as measured by questions answered have been incredible. That said, we’re constantly working to broaden and deepen our active participants across all products and from all industries.



Second, we see strong advocacy for Kronos in the efforts of our 30,000+ customers and partners suggesting enhancements and improvements of our products and services. In our first year, we received over 3,000 ideas in the community.



Finally, advocacy doesn’t require high activity volume from a customer or partner. One example is a simple poll question asked by a customer who doesn’t post a great deal. The poll question was about our annual KronosWorks conference, and one of his poll choices was, “It is KronosWorks and it will be awesome!” That’s an example of straight, unsolicited advocacy we see in the Kronos Community.



Cesar: That is fascinating to see such amazing examples of advocacy in such a relatively new community. Why do you think this has been so successful and what other metrics can you share with regards to the impact of the Kronos Community?

Leo: As I mentioned earlier, we’ve had a “customer-first” approach for as long as I can remember, and I’m in my 17th year with the company. Over the years, we’ve developed strong relationships with our customers fostered by Sales, Pre-Sales, Services, Educational Service, and certainly Support. At KronosWorks in November, we had about 2,500 customer and partner attendees, and when I’m at some of the events or experiencing the buzz in an Expo Hall it’s like a reunion for many of them - and us. The Kronos Community provides a virtual venue for those conversations to continue and for relationships to strengthen and grow. I’ll add one more thing about community and advocacy. Back in the Summer, I received a monthly report of Kronos Net Promoter Scores (NPS). NPS is a simple measurement of whether your customers would recommend your company to a peer. I manually split out the NPS results of community members, and their NPS was 12 points higher than the overall average.

Cesar: What advice do you have for companies interested in launching a customer community of their own?


  1. Make sure you have a strategy and know why you’re launching a community. I mentioned that Leader Networks helped us to develop our strategy. They were great, as are organizations like CMX, Feverbee and the Community Roundtable.
  1. Involve your customers early and often. Some of our early vocal critics are now my Customer Advisory Board and the most valuable advocates in our community.
  1. Build and sustain strong relationships with your IT partners.
  1. The change thing… We were moving from an old, web-based customer portal, so evolving to a modern social platform like Community Cloud was a big change. Over-communicate so your customers know what’s coming.
  1. Learn everything you can… You can learn a great deal about community strategy and management from the firms mentioned above, and do use the Trailblazer Community. I get a lot of answers, great direction, and connect with awesome community professionals there.

Cesar: Thanks Leo for taking the time to share these examples of advocacy in the Kronos Community. This community really demonstrates some of the key characteristics of successful communities:

  • Shared Purpose (or shared value) between the company and the community members. The belief that “we’re in this together” is very important and the Kronos Community really shows this shared purpose.
  • Strong community management (communities don’t run themselves). I always say that communities are like gardens, they need to be nurtured and maintained.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation and stay tuned for more blog posts on all things Community Management!

If you want to learn more:

And if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to visit the Kronos Community

This blog post was written in partnership with Leo Daley.