The power of connecting fans with each other. It’s a key business lesson that rock stars have long understood, that many brands still don’t get.
About three years ago, The Zac Brown Band started doing something before each concert called an Eat N Greet. The idea is to bring the band’s biggest fans together before the show, and feed them a ‘gourmet Southern meal’. But more than that, the band has created a very low-key and comfortable way for their biggest fans to connect with them. The band serves their fans, then as they are eating Zac Brown and other bandmates will walk around and mingle with the fans and spend time talking to them. It’s not a time for taking pictures and signing autographs, it’s a time for the band to truly connect with its biggest fans and get to know them a little better.
Last year I blogged about how Taylor Swift does something similar for her biggest fans with the T-Parties. With both the Zac Brown Band’s Eat N Greet and Taylor’s T-Parties, the idea is to create a special experience for the artist’s biggest fans. But more than that, these rock stars are creating a way to get their biggest fans together and connect them to each other. They’ve created an intimate setting where the fans are connected to each other over a love of their favorite artist.
This is important because these fans will share stories with each other about their favorite artist, and it helps validate to them why they love them. And as the fans connect with each other, it increases the chance that they will become friends themselves, since they now have a very common interest: They are both fans of their favorite artist.
Maker’s Mark does something similar to this with its barrelmates in its brand ambassador program. Each brand ambassador gets a chance to buy whiskey from a particular barrel. Their name and the name of 29 other ambassadors goes on each barrel. The barrel spends several years aging, and as it does, Maker’s Mark creates an online forum to connect these 30 people to each other, and let them get to know one another. But the common thread here again, is a love of the brand Maker’s Mark.
Again, it’s not that rock stars have a natural advantage that brands do not when it comes to cultivating fans. It’s that rock stars understand the value of their fans, and relentlessly focus on giving their most passionate customers ‘more than they expect’.
As you watch this video, think about this; What if your brand had a way to connect with its biggest fans, 50 or 100 at a time, all across the country? How would that impact the number of fans that your brand has? The relationship with those fans? Customer loyalty? The amount of sales driven by those fans?
Now ask yourself why you aren’t working to create an amazing experience like this for your biggest fans. And if you want to learn how to get started, I’ve written the very book that shows you how.