Famous rock bands have always had fan clubs to sing their praises. Roger Blackwell and Tina Stephan's book Brands That Rock: What Business Leaders Can Learn From the World of Rock and Roll explains how any company can cultivate a powerful fan base.
Blackwell advises that not-so-glam companies study Elton John's transformation from a "dowdy, poorly dressed guy with little personality to an international superstar."
A professor of marketing at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Blackwell says companies, like successful rock bands, should communicate with clients, treat them well, and make them feel they're important to the company.
Game company Looney Labs is winning customers against giants like Hasbro Games with the help of the Mad Lab Rabbits-500-plus fans who volunteer to work their tails off at trade shows, conventions and local appearances.
They're not paid, explains Kristin Looney, 38, who co-founded the College Park, Maryland, company with her husband, Andrew, 40. Many enjoy the camaraderie and the games. "A Rabbit might spend the weekend at a convention hanging out and promoting our games and only earn 20 [product credits]-worth roughly $20," she says. "It's the fun that brings them back, not the [credits]."
SOURCE: The Customer Respect Group
is a consultant and writer specializing in marketing.