Updated: Apr 2, 2021
What do One Direction, Glossier, Beyoncé, Patagonia, Supreme, and Target all have in common?
They have built their brands around Super Fans.
A Super Fan is a customer or supporter who not only follows you on social media and makes the occasional purchase, but they know your brand. They are the ones who purchase branded merch. They know when your next drop is coming. They engage with all your social media posts. But most importantly, they are your biggest advocates.
The advocacy component is what makes a Super Fan, well, Super. They believe in your message and product, so they tell anyone who will listen about you. Take a second and think, have you ever recommended a product or artist to a friend unprompted? Do you have certain products you swear by or even get excited when others love the same thing? I have on numerous occasions joked that I should get paid by certain brands because I'm the best ambassador they've got. Super Fans love your product, so when they tell someone about it, it's not a sales pitch: it's a genuine recommendation. No amount of splashy ads will sell your product quicker than a honest-to-god-human recommendation.
Now, for obvious reasons, I have mentioned brands that have reached next level Super Fandom status. But Super Fans are not limited to just world famous boy bands. The trick starts with getting to know your audience. This is infinitely easier when you're small. Learn who is buying your product or service. What made them take the plunge into purchasing something? What else would they like to see from you? Ask for their opinions and listen. You will want to know exactly what they love about you but even more importantly, what could be improved. Nothing is more empowering as a customer than making a suggestion and seeing that suggestion implemented. Additionally, talking directly with your customers is a great way to remind them that there are very really humans behind the brand. Customers are willing to forgive humans; non-human brands on the other hand, not so much.
Another great way to start building your Super Fandom is by starting small and starting niche. Figure out just what makes your business unique and lean alllllllll the way in. Play with your messaging. Play with your design. Play with how you interact with your customers. We found at UnderBelly that when we fully leaned into our absurdity, more people responded. By leaning into your unique niche, you can start being something special to your customers. Whether that is high quality stickers, goofy dog sweaters, a local bookshop, or a video producer, your customers will know just when to recommend you.
Finally, to build a Super Fandom, your product or service has to be fan-fricken-tastic. Great marketing and branding can only take you so far if you don't have a truly awesome product. Fortunately for you, if you lean into your niche, listen to your customers, and start building consistency early, making a great product will be the only possible outcome.