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Great post Valeria! Obviously this is a topic near and dear to my heart since I actually try to be a customer evangelist. I think you could do an entire follow up blog article on giving fans ways to "opt in". I like the idea of having ways to connect with each other, but I wonder if that is too expensive for most corporations.

Back in 2008, I went to an event at the Starbucks headquarters. It was the launch of new coffee (Thanksgiving Blend). Starbucks invited fans in Washington State to come to this - Invitations went out to then-Gold Card holders (a previous version of their loyalty program) and in the middle of the day, there were about a dozen of us that met and attended a coffee tasting for Thanksgiving Blend.

For me this was totally thrilling. I couldn't believe that I was meeting other people who put my own fandom to shame. It was the next year that I started blogging about Starbucks.

Since then Starbucks has gone backwards and has fewer events. Also, once they know you're a fan, they seem to ignore you because they've already got you. It's disappointing, but absolutely for me, one of the very biggest turning points in my relationship with Starbucks was that Thanksgiving Blend event.

I wish they'd listen to you! Hahaha.

Perhaps the real issue is that putting on events for small groups of customers isn't worth the money if you're a big billion dollar corporation? Small little fans can't really affect them given the scale of having 40 million customers every week.

Sorry this is so long.

@John - for many organizations this is the hardest part. What is my personality? They ask? What if my boss doesn't like what I write? They worry. It comes down to a matter of trust. The killer brands start with tribes inside and radiate out.

@Tom - it was actually an idea Vandana had during the chat we are testing out here. Note I said business and not brand. The more I think about it, the more I'm seeing how a business first community are employees and if they're not passionate about their own work, heavens knows how hard it's gonna be to service customers. Do you do work internal to a company? Many could use some internal feeding, especially as they think about becoming active in social media.

@Lateef - or maybe we have all the tools and it's a data entry problem? Are we capturing the right information? Is it being asked or tracked? Good thinking, thank you.

@Cassie - emotional connection has resonance. Thank you for stopping by.

Your totally right. The best way to succeed is to understand your customers and their motivation for buying/using your product/service.

Then, if you can find out their emotional motivations, you can definitely connect to them at a higher level. That's exactly what Obama and all of the singers and bands did.

@cassie_rice

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  • The opinions blogged herein represent only those of Valeria Maltoni and do not reflect those of her employer, persons or companies mentioned herein, or anyone else.