Social Business Engine: The enterprise podcast on social media, content marketing, social selling and employee advocacy.

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Bernie Borges hosts the Social Business Engine podcast, featuring business professionals at brands sharing how they use social media across their business to deliver great results. Brands showcased include Dell, Discover Card, Humana, LinkedIn, Oracle, Safeway, SAP, U.S. Marines, Walmart, Whole Foods and others. Find our show notes at: http://www.socialbusinessengine.com/podcasts/.

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How Any Business Can Build Long Term Profits Through Raving Fans

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Long term profits are like the constant heart-beat that keeps successful businesses running. Bernie’s guest on this episode has co-written an excellent new book that explains how neuroscience and the human connection can position your business for long term profitability through the creation of raving fans.

David Meerman Scott is a well-known marketing expert, globe-trotting keynote speaker, and consultant whose body of work is undoubtedly familiar to Modern Marketing Engine podcast listeners. His seminal book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” is a standard among marketing professionals with more than 400,000 copies sold and available in 29 languages. Now, with the help of his millennial daughter, Reiko he’s penned his eleventh book, entitled “Fanocracy: Turning Fans Into Customers and Customers Into Fans.” Listen to learn how your brand can become the favorite among a dedicated group of raving fans and reap the reward of long term profits.

Can Any Organization Or Business Create A Loyal Group Of Fans?

David says the answer to the question is an emphatic “Yes!” Fandom, while seemingly mysterious, is actually a natural human reaction that occurs when people truly love something. What does that mean for business leaders and marketers?

Business leaders are well served to embrace the research-based insights in David’s book Fanocracy to consider ways to develop customers into fans and fans into customers. Listen as David describes the research he and Reiko conducted over five years and what they discovered about how fandom occurs - and the practical lessons marketing and sales professionals can take from their findings.

Believe It Or Not, Neuroscience Supports The Phenomenon Of Fandom

Why do we tend to gather into groups of “fans” around such things as musical groups, comic book franchises, movies, athletes, celebrities and more? David says the answer is found in the way we are wired. Our brains are designed to move us toward environments where we will be safe - and belonging to a group where people share common values or interests is one of those environments. 

While fans of a musical group who gather before a concert may not be creating an environment of safety, the brain doesn’t view it that way. It is drawn to the group - yes, based on musical preferences in this case - but for the purpose of giving us a place to belong under a common interest or passion. We become members of a “tribe,” and the brain likes that.

Beyond the compulsion to belong, there is also the fascinating reality of a particular set of neurons in the brain referred to as “mirror neurons.” These neurons create sensations in our brains related to what others do, see, or experience. This enables us to participate vicariously in the experiences of others. It's difficult to explain but David gives a great example in this conversation. Put these mirror neurons together with the desire to belong to a tribe and you have the makings of true fandom.

Applying The Principles Of Fanocracy In Your Business

When it comes to business, these principles of Fanocracy can be immediately applied. Based on the research in his book, David suggests that you should conduct an audit of your websites and promotional materials and remove elements that don’t inspire fandom and replace them with things that do. Here are two of his suggestions:

  1. Remove all stock photos and replace them with photos of real people, cropped so that the viewer feels physically close to the person in the image. This appeals to the brain’s desire to feel “safe” because it's close to the person in the picture.
  2. Examine the language of your website and other materials, paying attention to techno-speech, flowery language, or industry jargon. Nobody is going to become a “fan” of what you provide unless you feel real and relatable. Remove such language and instead transform your copy into more natural language.

But, there are also long term ways you can cultivate a fan base for your brand or product. David says that it’s imperative to develop a new mindset about your product or service. What is the mindset?

Once your product is out in the marketplace, it is no longer yours. It belongs to your fans.

Allow them to use it how they wish, to develop clubs around it, to make up their own jargon, etc. In this episode, David provides one great example of a well-known brand that does NOT do this and two great examples of well-known brands who are doing it right. Be sure to listen to learn who they are and what these brands are doing in their Fanocracy strategy. 

What A True Fanocracy Means For Long Term Profits

Every (for-profit) company is in business to make produce a profit and a Fanocracy is a direct line to profit on a long term basis. How? Think of it this way…

If you are a Harry Potter fan you don’t blink an eye to spend money on all things Harry Potter - books, movie tickets, fan meetups, studio tours, online communities, etc. That’s because you are truly in love with the entire Harry Potter storyline and world. Transferring that to a business context - yes even a B2B brand - realize that when your customers truly become fans of your brand, they won’t hesitate to tell others about it, spend money to attend your events or upgrade to the latest version of your offering, etc. In fact, your fans will be happy to do so over and over again because they are truly your fans.

Join Bernie and David as they discuss the power of fandom, discuss its impact on business, and provide practical tips on how any business can develop its own Fanocracy strategy whether it’s a new or an established brand.

Featured on This Episode

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:14] The impetus behind David’s decision to write his new book, “Fanocracy”
  • [6:17] The unique experience of co-authoring a book with his daughter
  • [9:01] How neuroscience is built into David’s “fandom” thesis
  • [14:54] Applying these concepts to existing brands
  • [23:08] How does fandom translate into revenue for a company?
  • [25:22] Fandom is an infectious thing that translates to customers

Resources & People Mentioned

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