Products and services are increasingly focused in the way they are made and marketed to the potential client. Companies tend to their flock of fans – potential and loyal alike – by learning about all that makes them tick which, in turn, encourages the birth of über-fans. When a niche of über-fans is well tended to, a fascinating phenomenon can happen, where they start behaving like a hive-mind, regrouping like-wise thinkers who actively defend their modern fandom like zealots.
You may have heard of such groups and their accompanying rivalries; you may even be part of one: Mac vs. PC, Playstation vs. Xbox, Honda vs. Volkswagen, and the list goes on and on. The modern marketing war is no longer waged with TV ads saying Pepsi is better than Coke; it is now waged on social media with memes being thrown at each other’s Facebook walls and Twitter accounts. The level of engagement can range from simply liking everything that shines a positive light on a company to literally stalking the posts of rival brands to brag about how much their own side is better.
You may wonder at this point, why is the behaviour of über-fans so important?
- First, contrary to the old TV ad being seen by a captive audience, online content needs to be voluntarily shared, and its success is directly linked to the zeal of the über-fans who will be the first to post and share about their beloved brand.
- Second, social media is an increasingly common source of influence for customers who are looking to buy a product. Shared content is a source of credibility; seeing other people post what amounts to a love letter to a brand tends to be more convincing than a paid stranger saying ‘‘trust me, this product is good’’ in an ad, which is also why shared content is superior to the same old website banner that nobody sees or cares about (and is likely to be treated as spam by ad-blocking software).
- Third, but not least, there are some über-fans who are exceptional at creating content for their favourite brands. Letting them help out can not only strengthen the fanbase but also help garner a lot of attention, and not only online – one need only look at Super Bowl ads and the buzz that brands like Volkswagen and Doritos create by tapping into their über-fans.
So, what are you waiting for? Cultivate and engage your über-fans and let the battle for the best brand begin!