Energy drink, sausage, frozen pizza or candy bar – any product can become a major hit among a subculture that obsesses about it, Seriously or in an ironic manner. Especially Generation Z members love to love their brands and will continue to unpack, test, compare and promote products and services on social media. No brand can overlook the power of the fan community, as walking over the loyal consumers’ preferences can abruptly shake the foundations of their business. Trying to harness the energy of a fanbase through co-creation and marketing might be a waste of time and resources. Fans have the ability to connect with the product and their peers directly through social media, bypassing patronising brand managers and salespeople.
Audiences can also show their loyalty and dedication by investing in the product they love. Usually this entails micro-funding or crowdfunding new products but in these times, gamified investment platforms also shake actual stock markets.
Much like the alchemy of a hit song, how customer devotion is created is a bit of a mystery. When it happens, power shifts to the consumer and the brand has to cleverly navigate the situation. It is foreseeable that more and more products will have customer boards that communicate the needs of the community to the manufacturers and brand owners. This could mean that, for example, products that don’t raise the interest of the fan base simply don’t launch. Fans and communities become a decision-making entity for brands.
- Consult your consumers when making decisions about your product and service offering - they will appreciate it
- Interact with your fan base, give attention to their ideas and initiatives and be less insistent about your own agenda