Generating passionate customers takes time, commitment, engagement and genuine desire to connect with the market. The process begins at the very core of any business, its values and the vision for its future. Simon Sinek explained when a business is open about their vision it allows potential consumers to connect with them on a human level. Once that connection is made, the door is opened for engagement between the customer and business. Richard Pasewark described generating passion for your brand as a “journey of engagements”. Relationships built with your customers take time, and it’s your job to make sure the “consumers’ thoughts and feelings about the brand are positively reinforced”.
An easy way to kick start this process is through promotions or contests. Upon recently beginning business with a Hy-Vee in Marshall, MN we decided to start a local hero contest with the goal of better connecting that Hy-Vee to its community. The results have been outstanding, not only did the residents of a small town in Minnesota step up to nominate their own local heroes, but they took notice of how Hy-Vee was making that possible. Wegman’s, for example, has many fans within New York because of their involvement in the community, “Wegman's is a visible supporter of local events, donating products to local charities, donating millions to area schools and colleges, and so much more”. The image to the left is a screen capture from the Hy-Vee Facebook in Marshall. The post shows the week five finalist for the hero contest I was referring to in the last paragraph. What I wanted to point out is how this post received 629 reactions and 56 shares.
Another case study example of fan generation can be seen from our time with Cottage Inn Pizza in Grand Blanc, Michigan. While working with us they have done a handful of promotions and giveaways, but they’ve also made steps to get involved with the community on their own. One example of that is their support for the Grand Blanc High School hockey team, whenever the team shuts out an opponent or scores a hat trick Cottage Inn supplies free pizza for the entire team. Our job is showing the rest of the community, who may not have a direct link to GBHS, how Cottage Inn is supporting its community’s students. To the right is a screenshot of comments made after the hockey team won another free round of pizzas, and one of those that commented compliments Cottage Inn Pizza for supporting the hockey team and promising their next pizza purchase would be from them.
Connecting and engaging with customers is only the first step in establishing a fan base for your business and brand. Customers will demand consistency, for example if the Hy-Vee in Marshall, MN or the Cottage Inn Pizza in Grand Blanc, MI were to stop supporting their local community so openly people would notice and lose interest in them. Supporting the community will also only get a business so far, they also need to be able to provide the goods or services that they claim to do. Gaining the attention of new customers is only the beginning, maintaining their trust and loyalty takes a lot of work. This is why anything less than genuine interest in ones market and consumers, will not be enough to generate and maintain loyal customers and raving fans.
For More Information
- How to Attract Passionate Employees, Loyal Customers And Raving Fans
- The Secret to Making Customers Passionate About your Brand
- What Small Business Owners Can Learn From Wegmans
Author: Megan Carry
Marketing & Creative Manager at Cherish Local