On June 30, 2014, Hanson Dodge Creative presented on “Building Brand Champions” at Formula4 Media’s The Running & Fitness Event for Women in Chicago. Using insights learned from new research linking AHAS™ (Active, Healthy and Sustainable) consumers, the presentation focused on what active women care about, their paths to purchase and how to earn their brand loyalty. At the heart of it all is understanding the motivations and needs of Brand Champions. Learn what a Brand Champion is, why they are important to your brand and how to build them below.
So what is a Brand Champion?
A Brand Champion is not simply a customer who buys your product; a Brand Champion is someone who buys into your product and brand. As a result, he or she will pay a premium for your products and recommend your brand to others in their circles. Brand Champions share their affinity for a brand—which is rooted in a common set of beliefs between brand and Brand Champion—via social media, participate in dialogues with you and become repeat customers. In an increasingly digital world, where consumers look more and more to peer reviews and social mentions for product insight, Brand Champions are your brand’s most valuable customers.
How do you build Brand Champions?
Based on our experience, we offer the following five keys to building Brand Champions:
1. Deliver great products (of course!).
2. Provide a great customer experience at every touch. From marketing to point of sale, to the online experience, to service and communications after the sale, every touch point should be reviewed and refined to ensure that the customer’s experience unerringly reinforces your brand’s promise. And don’t forget to seize opportunities to get consumers talking about your brand by surprising and delighting them every chance you get. Live your brand’s authentic core beliefs without fail. There’s no substitute for behaving well. With the speed at which information now moves, customers can quickly spot the difference between the real deal and pretenders—between companies and brands that walk their talk, and those that simply talk. And when consumers spot a pretender, rest assured they’ll tell people about it. The good news? They’re equally likely to tell the world about companies and brands that behave well.
3. Communicate your brand’s beliefs and values at every opportunity. When a consumer concludes that a brand “sees the world the way I do,” she or he is far more likely to advocate on behalf of that brand. First, though, the consumer needs to know what your brand stands for. Don’t hesitate to share your brand’s core beliefs at every consumer touch point.
4. Make it easy for your Brand Champions to evangelize on behalf of your brand. Offer social sharing and other techniques that enable your brand’s biggest fans to share the love with their friends, family members and co-workers.
The Internet has made today’s marketplace transparent. Consumers are now in control. They can be watchdogs, critics or champions. Understand what motivates your Brand Champions, and what your brand can do to deepen relationships with consumers who love your products, and great things can happen.