To be able to analyse and then influence what happens to consumers as they transition from brand and solution ignorance to hopefully rabid fans, it helps to be able to have a model or framework of the transitional journey. One such framework is the Five A’s Customer Framework, where each ‘A’ is a journey stage represented by aware, appeal, ask, act, and advocate.

Aware – this is the entry point for the customer. Customers become aware of your brand and your solution (and those of other vendors), through a variety of means such as traditional advertising, social media, seeing your solutions in the wild, recall from previous use or exposure, and word-of-mouth advocacy.

Appeal – Having become aware of certain brands and their solutions, customers then make a shortlist of those that appeal to them.

Ask – If customer’s needs and curiosity are strong enough, they will actively seek out more information about appealing solutions by asking. Customers ask in a number of ways, such as seeking out product reviews either online or offline, calling vendors and their sales people, and by asking friends, family, and acquaintances.

Act – If customers are convinced by the information that they have gathered in the ask stage, they may act and purchase the solution.

Advocate – If the customer’s experience with the brand and its solution has been positive, customers may become very loyal to the brand and advocate on its behalf. Loyal customers have also been known to defend brands when they have come under unwarranted criticism.

A point to note is that customers need not traverse through each stage, some may take shortcuts depending on their starting, social, and environmental contexts. Further, some advocates may not purchase at all, as evidenced by non-purchasing Tesla fans.

The value of a framework such as the Five A’s is that having established the validity of the model, we can then analyse to see what customers are doing or not doing within each stage, as well as analysing why customers drop out of the journey during or between stages. Armed with such information, we can then aim to improve our brands, solutions, and marketing.

Adapted from Marketing 4.0, Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan.