In this day and age, there’s no shortage of ways to share our feelings. We share tips, tricks, rants, and raves with our friends, online and off, about everything. Sharing our personal accomplishments, funny YouTube clips (cat videos, anyone?), and viral pictures all make natural sense to spread the word. By sharing things we enjoy, we feel a sense of entertainment, amusement and personal connection. But, what can brands do to motivate us to express such feelings about them, their products and services, and become part of a larger community of brand loyalists?
The psychology of becoming part of a larger movement has become a popular topic. Companies have seen the power of super fans whose story sharing influences and inspires others. Fans are many levels beyond simply a customer; they don’t just buy a brand, they identify with it. They are with their favorite brands or teams through ups and downs, and most importantly they are advocates who actively try to turn others onto their brand of choice.
So to find what makes us go from customers into loyalists (or what makes us go from like to love) we have to look at not what the first memories a fan has, but what drove the second interaction to understand what makes a lasting relationship.
First memories are driven by attraction – curiosity, adventure, chance and oftentimes something we can’t control. What prompts the second interaction for fans is not necessarily a perfect experience, but an important one that draws us in deeper. When we believe we have discovered something that represents us as individuals, yet also makes us part of a community of like-minded individuals, we’re hooked.
Finding something new that helps represent a fan is a two-fold opportunity. It’s a way to empower oneself through becoming part of a larger movement with yourself as a supporting actor in the journey. Secondarily, our social networks add status to those that identify something on the verge of being great. So goes the search for the next big thing, but it’s a deep emotional driver for superfans. Whether it’s the first review on Yelp or the newest independent film, the satisfaction of discovery can all be summed up in the all encompassing, “I knew about it before it was cool.”
So, how can we put these insights into action? It’s about nurturing the fans before they become superfans. In this era of big data, there’s no shortage of information on what we like and who we are. The important thing is that when the opportunity presents itself, you have the systems in place to take advantage of that moment, or even to create new opportunities to connect. We can encourage more fans to become superfans by amplifying their personal story. Whether it’s the chance to meet their favorite player at the next game, access exclusive content, or get early access to new products, companies can create new memories while deepening relationships.
For a deeper dive, read our whitepaper on the “7 Key Elements Of Best Customer Management.”