InsightaaS: This is the last installment of what turned into a series of posts built around social media encounters. It's a little different, in that the subject matter itself didn't come about from a social connection - in fact, I was urged to take a closer look at PWC's blogsite by a consultant who gave a (truly excellent) presentation at an InformationBuilders analytics in healthcare event a couple of weeks ago. Instead, the link here is the content itself - how to manage the online "super-fan" as a source of marketing advocacy and incremental revenue.
The notion of building a network around advocates has been around for many years - in fact, it's described in John Hagel's Net Gain, the seminal work on creating online communities. Most firms try to recognize "super-fans" in various ways, recently through use of gamification and badges. I haven't seen as much success as the widespread activity would recommend should be the case - it may be that we're still too early on the hype cycle to have reached a point where these kinds of initiatives pay regular, predictable dividends. I think, though, that we're at least approaching that point - and I think that today's feature highlights some important factors in capitalizing on the opportunity, including (and especially) distinguishing between fans who represent marketing advocates and those who represent incremental revenue opportunities, and the importance of clean data and good analytics in creating a super-fan strategy.
Want to create a viral sensation on YouTube? Try this. Choose a pop star and bring together 20 of his biggest fans to record their own version of his new single. Then video their faces when the star himself walks in to join them on-set. Then upload and see what happens.
This was what the US retailer, Target, did when launching its deluxe edition of Justin Timberlake’s album, ‘The 20/20 Experience’. It’s one of my favourite ever examples of viral marketing. And guess what: it worked. To date, the fans’ shock and joy when Justin appeared has garnered 2.8 million views and counting.
This is just one example of the rise — and rising importance — of the super-fan. It’s a trend investigated in more detail in my recent video blog and accompanying article. But I believe it’s a development whose significance for companies and their CEOs also extends well beyond the entertainment and media sector.
Adding value through adoration
In fact, with the help of digital technologies, super-fans are now adding rising value to brands across many industries. From toys, to consumer electronics, to cosmetics - people with a deep, emotional attachment to brands are going beyond blogging and tweeting to become actively involved in making their favourite brands even better and more valuable. If you look across any brand’s consumers, its super-fans should be among its top priorities.
Not that super-fans are new: fast-moving consumer goods companies have been identifying and engaging with them for decades, including creating personas for different types. And these types vary widely, from ‘fanatical devotees’ who might attend Comic-Con in character costume, to ‘vocal advocates’ who tweet continually about a brand, to ‘quiet advocates’ — or ‘super-subscribers’ — who may only follow their more vocal counterparts, but are every bit as loyal.
Getting inside the ropes — in different ways
In my view, each persona of super-fan should be treated differently...