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How to Get 92,000 Customers Engaged in Your Brand

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Do you know what your customers think about your company? Specifically, what would your customers like you to do next?

At 56-year-old Dick's Drive-in in Seattle, they're not wondering. They've decided to open a new restaurant for the first time in 36 years, and asked customers where they should put it.

So far, more than 92,000 customers have answered.

The five-location burger chain -- Seattle's first fast-food company -- may be old school, but they haven't shied away from using new media to connect. To help pick their new location, the company first unleashed an online poll, which is where 92,000 people have weighed in with their ideas. (So far, North Seattle neighborhoods are triumphing over South Seattle and the Eastside.) 

People apparently care so passionately about whether they can get a Dick's in their neighborhood that the company reports it's had to remove tens of thousands of extra votes stuffed into the virtual ballot box by computer hackers.

Next up: a video contest that ends today, in which customers can leave 20-second videos describing why their city should get the new Dick's.

Another 2,400 people have tuned into the company's kickoff video (seen above) for the contest on YouTube.

While the methods may be Internet-based, the theme here is old as the hills: Ask customers what they want. Then, give it to them.

Besides getting longtime customers excited about Dick's, without doubt a press juggernaut has been created here. Local papers will simply have to cover the ultimate decision of where to open the next Dick's! Then, they'll have to cover the eventual opening of the new restaurant. Result: New customers will also discover Dick's.

When the new store does open, you can imagine the lines -- lines of customers who'll be standing there waiting for the doors to open, elbowing each other and saying, "I made this happen!" What a kick for those customers!

Dick's knew it had intensely loyal patrons. Now, it's engaged them in a way it hasn't in years, by just asking a question. By simply saying, "I care about your opinion."

Have you asked your customers to help shape your business lately? Leave a comment and let us know what your customers told you, and how you used their feedback.
Carol Tice

Written By

Longtime Seattle business writer Carol Tice has written for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Delta Sky and many more. She writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog. Her new ebook for Oberlo is Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs.