The “Maker” Culture
Last week I attended Bold Fusion, an event put on by Cincinnati HYPE (which I’m affiliated with) for young professionals, and listened to David Pescovitz of BoingBoing.net discuss the “maker” culture.
The “maker” culture is a movement of individuals working to make the world their own. By crafting their own brand of fashion, technology and art, the “maker” culture symbolizes, creativity, open access and collaboration.
Embrace Your Brand’s “Makers”
Pescovitz’s presentation got me thinking. The “maker” culture is an opportunity for marketers to embrace their brand advocates, the individuals who don’t only like a brand; they love it to the point of making it their own. Find out what they do, why they do it and how it can make your brand stronger.
Every brand has those advocates. If they don’t, they aren't around for too long. These individuals aren’t only valuable because of their continued support and word of mouth referrals. They are important because of the ideas they bring to the table. Just like a parent who wants the child they love to grow and improve, these advocates are full of ideas for improving what your brand stands for and what it has to offer consumers.
Ask and Respond
The simplest way to leverage brand advocates is to ask them, and social media is the perfect vehicle to accomplish this by monitoring the online conversation. See who comments on Facebook, who tweets about you, who writes blog posts, creates videos and shares photos featuring your brand. Not all of these individuals may be advocates, but you should be able to develop a pretty good guess, especially after making a list of potential advocates and keeping track of them over time.
Bringing your advocates into the fold is the next step. The more exclusive, the better. You might want to invite them to a private online community/focus group, solicit their feedback on new products or even invite them to your headquarters. The key is to make them feel special (because they are) and ask for their thoughts, opinions and ideas. Finally, and most importantly, respond with real action or an explanation if a suggestion cannot be fulfilled.
Embrace the ones who share your passion for your brand. They offer insight that’s unmatched by any expert and may hold the key to gaining more advocates and customers.