Can you remember when you bought something so good you had a dopamine-fueled ecstatic moment and had to immediately tell friends, family, and co-workers? Then they took your advice, bought the same product, and you all began to gush about just how good it was?
Inevitably, someone objected to the love fest and pointed out it wasn’t actually that good to which you all countered and debated each point they made. Did you realize you had become an unofficial spokesperson and advocate of that brand at that precise moment?
The Collective Power of Groups
This happens all the time and yet, for brands and customers alike, it’s an invisible and often untapped force to be reckoned with. A single customer’s voice can sometimes be lost amid the noise. It’s like throwing a stone in a large body of water. When the voices are joined as a collective, like a crowd in the stands at a sporting event, it suddenly becomes a rippling tidal wave of support that can almost drown out competition and negative feedback.
Loyal Customers Are Like Loyal Sports Fans
Have you seen, or participated in, the now-famous stadium wave that began at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico? That’s exactly the effect a loyal customer has for your product and brand when they cheer and support your business as it gathers momentum.
This momentum and power is known colloquially as “the 12th man,” particularly in American Football stadiums. These are the people who aren’t part of the team officially, but can influence and sway the outcome of the game. Teams celebrate “the 12th man” as stadium loudness has proven to throw off the other team, making it hard to hear signal calls, formation changes, and timing of the snap. Teams with louder stadiums have a competitive advantage on the field of play due to fan participation.
Harnessing Fans in Business
Businesses need to be able to harness “the 12th man,” the power of the loyal fan, customers who have become strong brand advocates and are willing to promote and defend a brand and product they believe in.
Fans should be acknowledged and rewarded; with so much data that can be gleaned from social media and customer purchasing habits, there is no reason why a business cannot identify fans and reward them with timely information, relevant offers and seamlessly cross-sold product opportunities.
Customer voices will only get louder because of it, and with it another stadium wave of support. Think of it as coaching that unofficial 12th member to think like one of your players; they need to know when to be loud to disrupt the competition and when to be quiet to help the home team.
Don’t Ignore the Link Between Customers and Your Brand
Brands and their fans are inexorably linked. A customer might not be part of your business internally, but they are still part of the team. And when your brand finally acts on this connection, you’ll have your own dopamine-fueled moment of excitement.
For a deeper dive on how “Turning Customers Into Fans” can work in business, check out this whitepaper.