Are you your fansâ fan?
Late November Prince gave a concert at the Antwerp concert hall â€œHet sportpaleisâ€. The press and 15,000 ecstatic fans unanimously declared that Prince gave his best and the concert was top.
A small group of diehard fans was even more enthusiastic however; a few days earlier Prince had given them a surprising pre-show in a small Brussels concert hall. Those who were present had the evening of their lives. Apparently, there was dancing on stage and the ambiance was uniqueâ€¦
Exclusive experiences lead to conversations
The stories about that special evening are a lot more heroic than the stories about the large-scale concert. Being there wasa unique experience that you love to show off to your friends and family.
It is amazing how much the â€˜brand’ Prince has gained in esteem for many Belgian music lovers, based on the conversations of those few hundreds of people who were present. The group was smaller, but their conversations afterwards had more impact and were more numerous because of the personal and exclusive approach. The impact of the thousands of â€˜normal’ attendees was remarkably lower. When you read this, you immediately feel why of course.
Prince is clearly his fans’ fan and loves to give them something extra!
What does your company or brand do for its fans?
Let’s translate this approach to your daily company context: what does your brand/company do for its most extreme fans? The reality is probably rather painful: most companies do not do anything particularly special for their fans, because:
– it is â€˜only’ a small group, so what’s the point?
– they already are loyal customers, so why invest even more money in them?
– other consumers might perceive this preferential treatment negatively, or not?
Let’s be clear: each of these 3 reasons is wrong! You may only have a handful of fans, but they are usually worth their weight in gold in terms of volume/turnover. Therefore, it is smart to reward their loyalty and to use them as ambassadors to find new customers.
When a brand does something right, it gives a warm feeling
I must admit that I already regret I wasn’t there, especially after having read the stories of those exclusive fans. Next time I really want to be there! In the meantime, I have already bought a new Prince CD. In other words; Prince’s fan management has immediately brought in somemoney. I’m not angryI wasn’tpart of the group of exclusives. Not at all! When a brand does something nice for a certain customer, it gives me a warm feeling. It offers a certain reassurance that you are (becoming) a customer with a good, honest and reliable company. You will become a bit more proud, so to speak, to be a customer.
Think about a brand fan programme
So it is about time to treat your fans a bit better. You can take that rather far. I recommend companies to create a brand fan programme. This does not refer to the kind of frequent flyer programmes which attempt to get people to stay loyal, but which do not improve the emotional connection with a brand. I am rather referring to activities and communication that sincerely show respect for your most loyal fans. Think of a football squad: players who go to supporter evenings, who greet loyal supporters after a match, etc., those are the kind of things you need to do with your brand. And the only goal should be: improving the emotional connection between your brand and your fans.
Show respect, and engage for the full 200%
Please do not ask what the immediate ROI (return on investment) of this programme will be. I could easily quote numerous scientific studies that show that building an emotional connection with consumers will result in an increased turnover in the long term.
I don’t think you need that in this case; it’s a sort of intuition. It is the guarantee I give you: become your fans’ fan, show them respect, offer them some extras, and they will make sure your brand will grow in the short and in the long term. However, you should realise that I am not giving you a guarantee without obligations: you only get the guarantee if you are 200% serious and if you really show those people that you think they are important.
If you solve the situation with surrogate actions, the impact fades away. My energy supplier gives me a present â€“ a free adapter â€“ every year, since I am a loyal customer. They want to help me to reduce my electricity consumption. Well, I can guarantee that this does not encourage my emotional connection with the brand. Besides, I am not the target; I am not a fan of the company, I am simply a customer.
If you want my guarantee for success, you urgently have to become your fans’ biggest fan.