What’s your favorite brand? Why?
The most successful brands in the world are more than just a great product. They build a community and lifestyle around their brand, thus entrenching their authority, status, and value for the short- and long-term.
This sort of community fosters not just loyalty but advocacy. Besides repeat business, superfans willingly promote your brand to their friends, family and most importantly social circle.
They’ll put your branded sticker on their laptop for everyone in the coffee shop to see. They’ll wear your product every day until worn out (and then buy another pair). They’ll share your content on social media.
Which businesses have cultivated a group of brand superfans, and what can you learn from those businesses to build a community around your brand?
Diehard Supreme fans wait hours outside stores for a new clothing launch, all while wearing Supreme clothing head to toe and discussing the brand with the next person in line. The Supreme Facebook page has grown to 60K organic followers who all actively discuss the products. The group also resells old clothing way above retail price; this works because the Supreme community is so strong it’s established the long-term value of the Supreme clothing line.
Supreme is an American clothing brand established in 1994. Although it started as a line for skateboarding and hip-hop, its reach has expanded drastically in the past two decades. It began with a group of “neighborhood kids, New York skaters, and local artists” who wanted to change the clothing culture in downtown Manhattan. These beginnings uniquely speak to their clients, often fostering a sense of loyalty among creatives and nonconformists.
Although Supreme has a distinctive product, it’s their unique customer experience that sets them apart. From their top-notch season lookbooks to the “random” option on their homepage, Supreme focuses on the fun and hip aspects of the fashion world. This brand voice permeates their products, customer experience, and unique interaction on social media.
Takeaway: Own your brand’s history, and create a related brand voice that seeps into every aspect of production, marketing, and beyond.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles have grown a reputation in the past 100 years as the “outlaw” bike. It’s well known as the “best bike” in the motorcycle world, even amongst people who don’t own a Harley. Hollywood uses Harley bikes to show off rebellious characters or exciting action scenes. Every aspect of Harley’s marketing, branding, and product iterate the same brand message: ride a Harley, be a badass.
Harley-Davidson also has a paid membership program called the Harley Owners Group (HOG). Harley owners love their bikes, and they love meeting fellow motorcyclists who also love their bikes. Though they could create their own communities, the majority of consumers are willing (and excited) to pay for the elite HOG club.
Takeaway: Use your brand to your advantage. Build long-term loyalty by encouraging your fans to invest in your brand outside of the product, like an elite group or supplemental merchandise.
3. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s has such loyal fans that these devotees are willing to wait in extensive lines just to pick up their groceries. Consumers are addicted to the unique Trader Joe’s branded products. These food products are typically whole, organic, and healthy, and they’re offered at a lower price than their name brand competitors.
Trader Joe’s product is the heart of their brand. They offer exceptional recipes and promote cook-off competitions on social media. They know they have a great product, and they utilize that strength when appealing to loyal fans that believe in inexpensive, healthy food.
Takeaway: Stick to your strengths, and match the value of your product with your brand.
This fitness company has such loyal fans that people have moved across town to live closer to SoulCycle locations. They create a loyal community through the addictive way they make their cyclists feel. With a positive environment and fun atmosphere, they make fitness fun and sexy.
They also inspire their customers to live a healthier life by promoting the empowerment of SoulCyclists. Consumers feel this dedication to health, and they start to respond to the brand with that same sort of loyalty.
SoulCycle actively works to pull cyclists together, both in-person and online. Along with branded merchandise, they also hold frequent cycling events and weight loss challenges for the community. They foster friendships between members, which makes users addicted to the comradery and fun they get from their fitness brand.
Takeaway: Inspire people to live a lifestyle that surrounds your brand.
Fornite is more than just a video game. It’s become a community that “levels the playing field” between celebrities, grandparents, teenagers, and NBA stars. It’s made hundreds of thousands of dollars, out earning Overwatch and DOTA.
Fornite focuses on the consistency of the community. Once you stream the game, you enter a new world with other passionate, like-minded players. The game itself needs a community of players to work. They foster this community through the product as well as social media and online competitions.
Takeaway: Create a product that thrives on network-based relationships.
It’s hard not to be a Disney fan. Disney owns just about everything from radio to TV to movies to theme parks and beyond. But Disney knows how to create microcosms of highly loyal and dedicated customers. Marvel fans, Disney Princess fans, Mickey fans, Star Wars fans, and even Fox News watchers all belong to the overall Disney fan-hood.
They can create this loyalty not only through an innovative and unique product, but because they make it easy to be a fan. After they put out a movie, they have accompanying action figures, T-shirts, mugs, branded hashtags, roller coasters, fan theory pages, and more. You can instantly become a part of a community in every aspect both in the physical and online world.
Disney also has a consistent brand message no matter what they’re doing: it all started with a mouse. They focus on building the dreams of their employees and consumers alongside the Disney growth.
Takeaway: Diversify while maintaining brand consistency.
Starbucks sells coffee, which is naturally addictive. With the regularity and concentration of Starbucks, it’s easy to pop into a Starbucks for your “fix.” They maintain a consistent product and level of service, so customers always know what they want to order and how to order it.
Beyond their product, Starbucks is committed to the environment in which they operate. They have strong sustainability efforts, working to make coffee a more sustainable product. 99% of their coffee is ethically sourced, and they’ve committed to providing 100 million trees to farmers by 2025.
Their higher prices reflect an ethical and social mission, so loyal customers are more willing to pay the premium.
Moreover, Starbucks also focuses on the social aspect of their company. They have an employment empowerment program where they pay for training and tuition for their workers. Starbucks invests in their employees, which creates a return for customer service (and the bottom line).
Takeaway: Make your brand bigger than your product. Commit to something outside of yourself.
Even people who don’t have a Tesla car are committed to the Tesla brand. Tesla, led by the inspiring Elon Musk, is driving the world into the future of energy and technology. They’ve made “being green” cool for everyone.
They’re always innovating in new and surprising ways. Consumers never know what Tesla is going to come out with next. From a semi-autonomous truck to a rocket ship, Tesla is breaking barriers of clean fuel, technological advancements, and global transportation.
Because of this innovation, Tesla is considered one of the most prestigious employers. This prestige creates a loyal following of employees, potential employees, and customers that grows the goodwill of the brand—even without car purchases.
Takeaway: Surprise and delight consumers at every turn.
Nike has been able to create a strong loyalty to their fitness clothing primarily through their advertising campaigns. With motivational quotes and celebrity endorsements, Nike has grown from a clothing business to a fitness lifestyle.
They have also been able to sign some of the biggest names in sports and athletics, from Michael Jordan to Tiger Woods to Sister Madonna. With each endorsement comes a range of fans who want to emulate their favorite athletes.
Endorsement instantly taps into a target audience of people who are willing and excited to buy their product. People who idolize Michael Jordan want to jump and play like him, so they want the Nike shoes that help him do that.
This loyalty is about more than just the celebrity. It’s about the lifestyle that those celebrities radiate while wearing the Nike brand.
Takeaway: Utilize your resources and marketing to build an inspirational lifestyle around your brand.
This list wouldn’t be complete without an analysis of Apple. Apple has been able to build one of the most loyal and profitable customer communities of all time. Ultimately, their community building strategy boils down to three areas: brand history, innovative products, and a unique customer experience.
Apple’s history is inspiring to innovators in all areas of business. They failed multiple times, but they were persistent and became one of the most profitable brands of all time. The Apple community has been watching leaders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak since the beginning, inspired to keep persisting as the Apple brand has.
Apple has always been committed to forward thinking and innovation. Their products are the first of their kind, and everyone—even non-Apple fans—anxiously anticipate a new Apple announcement. Their products are simple and user-friendly, which appeals to the laid-back fan base.
Beyond their products, Apple offers strong user experiences end-to-end. Their “Genius” bar is always available to help, and they provide top-notch service at little to no cost. Their employees also stand behind them, creating a strong company culture. This engagement reflects the customer fan base as well.
Takeaway: Be committed to your brand from A to Z.
These brands have been able to grow their communities through strong leaders, innovative products, top-notch customer service, and a unique brand voice.
One of the easiest ways to create this loyalty is through marketing and media. Nike uses video advertising to connect with their clients. Disney releases teaser trailers and cartoon shorts to maintain consumer excitement. Supreme shares random and fun videos to keep consumers entertained.
Media is the foundation of a strong brand-consumer interaction and relationship.
Do you have the media to attract and engage your customers long-term? Contact True Film Production now to start building diehard customer loyalty through high-quality media marketing.