Brand Loyalty and Sports Have Much in Common

  |  July 5, 2012   |  Comments

Three ways to leverage your customers to support your brand without breaking the bank or betraying their allegiance.

Sports fans are some of the most dedicated customers in the world. Not only can they name the height, weight, and speed statistics of their favorite athlete, they also sport a jersey on game day. Some might call that excessive enthusiasm over a single individual crazy, but really - this is brand loyalty in its truest form.

Just like these sports fanatics, your customers are your company's most loyal experts. They know and understand your brand as though it were their own flesh and blood. Leveraging their expertise is a great way to heighten brand awareness and loyalty while also showing your most devoted customers how much you value their time.

Here are three ways to leverage your customers to support your brand without breaking the bank, or betraying their allegiance:

  1. Customers for hire. Who knows your brand better than your most dedicated customers? If you can afford it, bring on some customers as your employees. They can help with customer support and consult on product design ideas. Who better to support you than those who have been your biggest fans all along? Plus, you won't even need to train them on your product.
  2. Focus groups. Not enough green to hire a team? Focus groups are a fantastic way to get great feedback from your customers without breaking the bank. Round up a crew of your most faithful and start a conversation about your brand. What works for you? What needs improvement? What is your favorite aspect of the site? What would you like to see more of? The mere fact that you're reaching out to customers in an interpersonal way will strengthen their loyalty while providing invaluable information for your own needs. What can they get out of it? Supply them products and give them special treatment - everybody wins!
  3. Get analytical. Go behind the scenes and find out what your customers are telling you about their experience via your company's website. Review your site's analytics to see where your customers are spending the most time or no time. Are your customers on the login page for too long? Fix it. Lots of hits on that post about DIY pillow covers? Incorporate more homely DIY posts. In this crazy high-tech world we live in, there are plenty of great tools at your disposal to break down and analyze the statistics of your site. Google Analytics is an easy source to find and better understand site metrics so you can keep people coming around…and sticking around.

Your customers are the ink to your pen, the cheese to your macaroni. Without their support, knowledge, and loyalty, your brand is merely an idea floating around on the Internet. Utilize their enthusiasm. Chances are, they will be incredibly excited to get more deeply involved with your brand - otherwise they wouldn't keep coming back for more. So go on, don't keep them on the bench, give them a jersey so they can be part of your team!

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Laney Whitcanack

Laney Whitcanack is Federated Media Publishing's chief community officer. Prior to joining FM, Laney co-founded BigTent in 2006 and focused on innovating online and offline ways to connect people with communities they care about. She spent the decade previous to BigTent coaching and training hundreds of community leaders, in the U.S. and Mexico, most recently as the director of community programs for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership.

A published author and speaker on entrepreneurship and community organizing, Laney received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2008. She is currently a board member of Zeum: San Francisco's Children's Museum and The Princess Project and is involved in even more community groups after the birth of her daughter, Campbell, last year. Laney has a B.A. from UCLA, and MBA from the Simmons School of Management, and an Ed.M from Harvard University.

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