(Brand) love. How do you make it last a lifetime?
In a world where there are more virtual connections than real ones, we still see flashes of the Real Thing. It’s the kind of dedication that convinces you a chest tatt of your favourite football club is definitely a good idea. Or has teens queuing round the block in subzero temperatures just to get their hands on some new Supreme merch.
At LoveGunn, we create brands that convert customers into fans. We don’t just understand brand love – we spark it. And take it from us: once you’ve found a snug place in a customer’s heart, more often than not, you’re there to stay.
So, if having fans means unlocking the ultimate level of brand loyalty, how do you go about creating a fanbase?
Looking back through the brand history books, household names tended to communicate with their customers in the same vein – inoffensive, appeal-to-the-masses type stuff. The bigger the audience, the higher the conversion, right? Wrong. Whilst that may have worked a charm back in the day, the overcrowded brand landscape has graduated to one-in-one-out territory in 2022. Customers need to feel they’re being spoken to directly, by a brand that really cares.
Take Nike (because why not use the biggest sportswear brand in the world to prove our point?). Back in the 80s, not only did they take on America’s most publicly-adored figure as their brand ambassador – the one and only Michael Jordan – they chose the safest slogan ever. ‘Be Like Mike’, to a country who already held him on a godlike pedestal, left zero room for error.
Cut to September 3rd, 2018; a simple tweet from Colin Kaepernick: ‘Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.’ An ad that celebrated taking a stand (or a knee, as Kaepernick did) for what is right, and lit cultural discourse ablaze. It was incredibly polarising – exactly as planned. In one ballsy move, Nike had willingly alienated consumers that didn’t support its progressive values, and in doing so, became a hero in the hearts of its fans. As Nike founder Phil Knight said it himself, ‘it doesn’t matter how many people hate your brand as long as enough people love it’. Feathers = ruffled.
It goes without saying, that taking a stand doesn’t have to come in the form of grand gestures. But it does have to be prefaced with an unparalleled understanding of your audience. Once they’ve been thoroughly dissected (*GCSE Science flashback*), a brand can focus on the best part of all: what unites them. This will frame your brand in positivity, concentrating on common values, insightful interests, unusual internet behaviours – whatever it is that brings your audience together. Capitalising on the intel gathered, and working it into the way you speak to your customers, will help to refine a tone of voice that strikes a chord.
You may see where we’re headed with this one: brands of the modern world harness the power to create a sense of community. We’ve seen it with our own eyes. We helped female well-being start-up Ama create a campaign empowering women to take orgasms into their own hands. We made it about girls supporting girls, amplifying the narrative around female masturbation – and, in doing so, united our audience in their common (and very normal) desires.
Customers buy into that community, not just your product. It’s like a club you want to be part of. Building a fanbase rooted in community has become more than a nice-to-have; for the 2022 brand, it’s a lifeline. Without a refined ability to bring people together, there’s no guarantee your fans will keep coming back for more.
Understanding who your audience are and identifying the role your brand plays in their lives is like a heart finding its beat – check out our recent article: Getting To Know Your Audience 101 for further insight.