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The super fan

You’ll have probably heard of them, and maybe even seen a few of them in action, but little is known about them. The brand activist, aka the super fan is a phenomenon borne out of social media – but who are they? And what do they want?


Brand ambassadors, champions or even fanatics, call them what you want but they are fast becoming the Holy Grail for professional marketers. Why? Because these die-hard brand extremists are gold dust for marketers trying to get their message to the masses.

With a strong presence in the social arena, they live and breathe their chosen brand, taking their commitment to places most regular people would never dream of. And the reason that marketers love them so much is because they are prepared to a do a lot of the heavy lifting for seemingly little reward.

'Marmarati'

There’s no better example of brand ambassadors than the Marmarati. Yes, you guessed it, die-hard Marmite lovers.

Unilever cleverly manipulated the love it or hate it slogan to recruit a group of fanatics who truly love Marmite. These ambassadors are used to ramp up awareness in the run up to new product launches or campaigns. And they are proving very effective, with Unilever reporting over 6,000 Twitter posts and 302,000 page views as a result of the efforts of the Marmarati in their last campaign.

When they’re not being used to propel campaigns to the front of trending algorithms, Unilever keeps them sweet with dedicated Twitter and Facebook pages, and exclusive access to brand developments, including info on all the latest Marmite initiatives.

Malcom Gladwell referred to these fans in his book, The Tipping Point, as mavens. These are people who like to share more than other people do; they get their kicks from sharing expert knowledge and will use all channels at their disposal to do so. Whether it’s revealing breaking brand news or getting first access to the latest products, all they want is to be seen to be 'in the know'.

Create your own ambassadors

If you have any brand ambassadors out there they won’t be hard to find. They will already be on Twitter or Facebook shouting about your particular product or service. It’s a marketer’s job to encourage and guide that effort.

Once you have tracked them down, keep a list of what’s getting them talking, what they don’t care about, what they want to hear/see more of etc. Brand ambassadors can be good taste testers for the rest of your target market when introducing new products or services. Although be warned, in many cases even the slightest change to their beloved brand can result in an immediate backlash.

Now that you’ve got tabs on them, get close to them and let them know you’re aware of their efforts. E.g. invite them to exclusive Facebook groups or Google+ hangouts. Make each one feel like a VIP and watch how they take on this responsibility to boost the brand further.

These guys are going to be putting in some serious work for you on social platforms so reward them with exclusive branded products, discounts, loyalty schemes etc. As we said, mavens love to be the ones who share information first, so give them the in-side scoop. Such things will mean the world to a brand fanatic. Keep feeding that energy and let it flourish to your benefit.

These super fans are out there and are an untapped resource for many marketers. Take the initiative and reach out to them to compliment your existing marketing efforts.

If you want help creating your super fan base email our social team paul@westhill.co.uk or call 020 7631 0274 to speak to someone directly.


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