If you’re like most brand managers, you’re unaware of or turned off by “extreme consumers”-people so infatuated with the brand that they spend more than 10% of their lifetime income on it. But they can be your most powerful allies.
Only around 5% of consumers go to extreme, on average, but they have an enormous impact on a firm’s profitability.
- They’re loyal.
They tend to stay true to their brand no matter what, and they speak up for it when it’s under attack. That is word-of-mouth marketing.
- They have resources.
Most are 30 to 45 years old, and their income is above their national average.
- They add real value.
Consider the iPhone apps built by die-hard Apple fans, or the Japanese Ferrari dealership opened by Osamu Enomoto, a former engineer who quit his job at Toyota to sell the cars he loves most. Enomoto has sold more than 1,000 Ferrari in a country that has a total of around 10,000.
What do extreme consumers do, exactly?One person has lived exclusively on food that contains Arm & Hammer Baking Soda for more than 30 years.
Another has bought so many pairs (99, to be exact) of the same Nike shoe that, the customer says, “home looks like a Nike store.”
Another has purchased more than 150 Canon cameras since 2006.
Another has eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Panda Express every day for the past five years.
Another has drunk nothing but Coca-Cola for more than 20 years.
And another has consumed 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts per day for more than four years.
Let data talk:
53%-regularly disparage competing brands
71%-spend more than one-third of their income on their favorite brand
79%-regularly talk up their favorite brand to family and friends
94%-never even consider buying a brand that rivals their favorite; agree strongly that “more often than not, buying cheap is expensive”; display their extreme behavior in relations to just one brand
96%-describe their favorite brand as “part of the family”
98%-have defended their favorite brand against perceived attacks in the media or from other firms or individuals
100%-personally identity with and say they gain meaning from a favorite brand
- Twilight–Let customers take ownership
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series of books and movies encourages and collaborative use among the ultra-devoted. On the brand’s official website, visitors can form their own committees and promote fan-run events. In essence, they’re developing tools for attracting other customers.
- Patagonia, Adidas–Ask customers for help
Patagonia relies on fearless customers to test products in the planet’s harshest environments, Adidas invited enthusiasts to spray graffiti on warehouse walls and then used the designs to decorate shoes.
- Red Bull–Share consumers’ stories
This is an effective way to convey the sense that the consumers are brand heroes. Red Bull celebrates its extreme athletes in its web publication The Red Bulletin.
- Anime, Ben & Jerry’s
Happenings tailored to extreme consumers engender a feeling of belonging and create positive buzz. In Japan, manga (comic book) and anime (animation) series host events at which fans dress up in costumes and literally live the brand. Ben & Jerry’s sundae festivals initially targeted the extreme crowd but have become mainstream events over time.
Reference: Harvard Business Review