5.162013

brand book bites from Monster Loyalty

(“brand book bites”, a new blog feature of mine, are book reviews that highlight the most interesting brand stories in the latest best-selling books.  Subscribe to my feed so you don’t miss these regular bulleted briefings on the books I recommend you read.)

–  the book:  Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics – an easy read about Lady Gaga’s wildly successful strategies for attracting and keeping insanely loyal fans.Monster-Loyalty-3D-cover-321x365

–  the brain:  Jackie Huba has been writing the enlightening Church of the Customer blog for years, and is the co-author of two books on customer loyalty: Citizen Marketers and Creating Customer Evangelists.  Most notably, though, Jackie is a Lady Gaga fan through and through and has been in contact with her and her organization for several years, so Monster Loyalty relays insights from her unique “insider” vantage point.

–  the best bits:  Monster Loyalty breaks down the 7 ways Lady Gaga has built an enduring fan base along with descriptions of businesses that have done the same.  Among the lessons are:

  • “Focus on Your One Percenters” (super-engaged, core group of customers) – “There’s no magic potion; it takes patience and a focus on the long-term.  There may be temptations to take shortcuts and not grow organically.  Gaga’s manager fought this urge.
  • “Lead with Values” – “Make sure customers know that your business is about something bigger.  By bigger, I mean something emotional that people can believe in…Customers can be interested in what products do, but they can only bond with companies emotionally over what they believe in.
  • “Make Them Feel like Rock Stars” – “The customers are now the stars.  Smart companies, in a big to keep their business, are making customers feel special by shining a spotlight on them.  It helps cement the existing bong with the company.

–   the brand story:  One of the book’s most instructive stories is about Fiskars (the Finnish housewares brand, best known for its orange-handled scissors) and its community of One Percenters called the Fiskateers.

Fiskars wanted to create a relationship with its customers that went beyond its products, so it researched and eventually embraced the community of passionate scrapbookers who wanted better ways to connect with one another and, according to Fiskars, longed for “a new type of crafting community…that was uplifting and encouraging, where members could feel safe to share about themselves, shine a spotlight on their handiwork, and talk openly about the tools they use to create it.”  Through collective online and offline experiences including a membership-only site, Fiskars has seen “a tremendous return on investing in their customer community”:

  • branded mentions of Fiskars products online rose more than 600% since the start of the program
  • sales doubled in cities with Fiskateers communities vs. non-Fiskateer cities
  • there are 1,000 Certified Fiskars Demonstrators that teach classes at stores like Michaels and Walmart which drive sales so significantly that Walmart pays them to do it

When I asked Jackie about how other companies can implement similar programs, she explained that it requires “long term vision…Initially you see lots of investment — it takes people, money, technology resources.  There’s a return in the long term but leaders who are short-term focused might be hesitant to do it.  But it’s the most strategic thing you can do.

–   the bottom line:   Jackie summed it up well for me:  “Lady Gaga has a fundamental belief that she doesn’t exist without her fans – it’s the underlying philosophy that drives her.

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