Retail Marketing

How to indulge your brand’s superfans

July 2021 9 min read Written by Papirfly

In this article, you'll learn...

  • What makes a superfan 
  • How they can increase your ROI
  • How to earn them
  • 6 brands with long-standing superfans

There are people who trust and prefer your brand and there are people who live and breathe it. The latter are known as superfans. More than just a group of loyal customers, these are people who resonate with your company values, advocate your products and want to know about everything your company has to offer. From Apple to IKEA, superfans are attracted to all kinds of different retailers... and you may not even know you have them.

Once you’ve found your superfans, and taken the time to understand them, you can enrich their experience to build an even stronger connection and leverage their love of your brand to your advantage. It’s a win-win!

When does a customer become a superfan?

Generating loyal customers is the aim of the marketing game, but when those customers become superfans, your ROI can reach the next level. Generating new customers is clearly important for increasing revenue and the overall success of your company. It can be easy to neglect the customers who already feel a strong sense of loyalty towards your brand, and what it stands for, when you’re caught up looking at sales data and analytics, or the results of your latest campaigns.

There are two key reasons to always remember your most loyal customers in your marketing campaigns:

1. They are already aware of the value your brand can bring to their lives
When you already have a point of contact with your customers, know a little about them and their reasons for buying your products, you have more freedom to be creative with your advertising. Without the need to introduce your brand, you can make your messaging more outward facing and focus on your customer’s pain-points, solve their challenges and promote other products that they might be interested in.

2. They are your biggest spenders

Think quality over quantity. By investing in building a stronger connection with your existing higher-spend customers, you can reach a larger ROI than you would trying to reach new customers who typically spend much less. In fact, research has shown that 43% of customers spend more with brands they are loyal to. And not by a little; recent studies have found that a company’s top 10% of customers spend three times more than an average customer, with  the top 1% of customers spending five times more.

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If you ignore your most loyal customers, you’re likely to be missing out on a significant amount of revenue. The first step to turning them into superfans is knowing how to identify them in the first place. We’ve already mentioned that they are normally the people spending most with your brand, here are some other personality traits to look out for:

#1 Brand loyalty talks

Superfans are passionate about all things involving your brand. They are the people most likely to bring your products and services up in conversation at any opportunity, engage with your social media content regularly and convert their friends and family into customers.

#2 Who's got your back?

There may be times when, through no fault of their own, a world-leading company finds itself at the centre of a controversial debate or false allegations that can be damaging to revenue. For a brand with an army of loyal superfans, any unfair accusations can be dispelled relatively quickly.

#3 Loyal customers are happy customers

This makes them the ideal referral source as they’ll be more than willing to share their positive experiences of your brand and its products with others.

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How do brands earn superfans in the first place?

Whether it’s making a purchase, responding to a tweet or releasing a customer-focused campaign, every time your brand interacts with existing customers, you have the chance to create a superfan.

Create a brand community 
Identify your superfans, find out what connects them to your brand and use that connection to rally them around your brand. Apple has one of the biggest brand communities in the world, with Apple Support Community going a step further than peer-to-peer support and moving towards creating a space for superfans to share their own ideas and experiences.

Facilitate open conversations
Opening up the conversation to loyal customers helps to ensure transparency, promote engagement and humanise your brand. Communicating with customers on social media makes them feel valued and more personally connected to your company's products and services.


Provide value post-purchase
To engage customers and turn them into superfans, their experience with your brand needs to go much further than a monetary transaction. Keep them engaged after they’ve made a purchase with follow-ups, rewards and relevant content that helps them get the best from your products or services.

Personalise wherever possible
Although your superfans are connected by the same thing, it’s important to remember that they are all individuals and their connection to your brand is something personal to them. With bespoke shopping experiences, marketing and, to an extent, your products and services themselves, you can better maintain the loyalty you’ve earned. Even something as simple as including a customer’s name in an email can make a difference.

Get feedback from your fans
Like in any relationship, conversation should be a two-way thing. To keep your superfans on-side it's important that they feel listened to. Even when they are making negative feedback, responding fast and explaining how you can resolve their issue can help win them back on side.

Stay full of surprises
Even your most die-hard superfans can tire of the same content day after day. To keep their super fandom fresh, it’s important to instil the same creativity and originality into your content that made them fall in love with your brand in the first place. Go the extra mile and offer new experiences when customers least expect them.

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6 brands that use super fandom to their advantage

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Apple has always been great at understanding how people make their products and services part of their lives. It’s how they proved that cutting-edge technology can be designed in a way that makes everyone’s lives easier.

Apple has nurtured its superfans by committing itself to unrivalled user experience in every product they produce, with customer service to match.

Drawing on their own rise from obscurity to industry leader in the 80s and early 90s, Apple’s Underdogs ads show how its products are designed with features to handle the everyday challenges of the average customer. They also include ‘the round pizza box’, which savvy superfans know is a real idea patented by Apple.

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With its 80 years of offroad history, Jeep has some incredible stories to tell that have gained their vehicles a cult following. However, it's their community of drivers that can tell them best and bring a new generation to #JeepFamily across their social media channels.

By using its status as the longest-lasting 4x4 /SUV brand on the road, Jeep has created a platform for loyal fans to share their own experiences of the off-road lifestyle.

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To give back to their superfans in a way that feels more valuable, tangible and well-suited to their brand, The North Face offers their most loyal customers the chance to win tickets and travel experiences to the world’s most exotic locations.

What makes this reward program so great for superfans is that they have the chance to earn them at every touchpoint — from checking-in at a store, to leaving a review about a product they’ve just purchased.

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These superfans span official and informal owners' clubs across hundreds of countries, each united by the same passion for Harley Davidson’s iconic bikes. It’s what helped the brand become one of the world’s most renowned lifestyle brands with a global community centred around its products.

Harley Davidson brings its fans together by giving Owners Club members access to exclusive events, membership of local chapters and additional services such as breakdown assistance and insurance.

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Although LEGO was originally produced as a children’s toy, it has gained superfans of all ages. There are builds for just about anything and even the opportunity to submit ideas for new sets via The LEGO Ideas Community, which has grown to over 1million users. These concepts are voted for by other superfans and the chosen ideas produced and put on sale, with its creator receiving 1% royalties. 

LEGO embraced the creativity of its customers to go from building a community of superfans to building with them and rewarding them for their creativity.

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From its early beginnings, Starbucks has called upon its customers for opinions and suggestions for making their products even better. In 2008 they developed a platform called My Starbucks Idea, where their community can submit any suggestions they like. It doesn’t matter whether they’re groundbreaking or glaringly obvious.

After noticing that their customers couldn’t help themselves from doodling on their iconic white coffee cups, Starbucks also created a campaign to celebrate their creativity. The #WhiteCupContest set out to encourage customers to decorate Starbucks coffee cups and share their creations on social media. The winning design was printed on a limited edition reusable cup.

The takeaway lesson from this campaign is the fact that Starbucks took note of how customers were engaging with their brand, listened to their online feedback and created a way for them to share their creativity with the world.

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Sometimes superfans can go too far

It’s impossible to have full control of the way your customers engage with your products and services. When it comes to super fandom, love for your brand has the potential to go off the scale. 

While superfans have the power to attract new customers and show your brand in its best light, some super  fandom can get a little out of hand:

#1 Moët bubble baths

After years spent making itself synonymous with the heights of luxury and refinement, renowned champagne producer, Moët, became entangled in the world of Rich Kids of Instagram — an online community dedicated to ‘rich kids’ showing off their wealth through lavish antics.

One demonstration of gross excess was to share photos of themselves relaxing in bathtubs full of Moët’s most expensive champagne… Classy.

#2 Barbie in real life

Barbie has come under fire in the past for the way it portrays women, and the message that this sends out to children.

Despite the brand’s efforts to make a positive change, one Barbie superfan made a huge step backwards by taking the plastic image literally. After already spending thousands of dollars on plastic surgery to make themselves look like a life-sized Barbie doll, they have since gone even further by taking hypnotherapy to ‘dumb themselves down’. As well as making them partly responsible for an unhealthy obsession, this has rekindled the damaging associations that Barbie’s marketing team has been trying so hard to avoid.

#3 The McEverything

McDonald’s has grown to become the world’s most iconic fast food chain, but in doing so, has become immediately associated with junk food. In more recent years, they have been trying to shift this perception, with new recipes, healthier options and grown-up interiors. This was largely prompted by research highlighting the brand’s contribution to childhood obesity and the shock factor of documentaries like Supersize Me — a film showing the damaging effects of eating nothing but McDonald's for a year.

McDonald’s has made huge progress in changing its perception from unhealthy junk food to family dining. However, this move wasn’t helped when (the appropriately named) food blogger, Nick Chipman, spent $141 on 43 different burgers to create the ‘McEverything’. Managing to eat the entire thing in one sitting, he brought back McDonald’s connection to binge eating and obesity – albeit temporarily. 

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Why your teams will become BAM’s number one fans

To build your community of superfans, your brand needs to communicate with authenticity, consistency, speed and creativity. Once you understand what makes your superfans tick, BAM by Papirfly™ can help your teams strengthen their loyalty by:

  • Reacting fast to market demands with PIM and ERP integration.
  • Ensuring marketing materials land with impact in any location.
  • Creating studio-quality assets in minutes, without agency help.

To see these features in action, get in touch with our team to arrange your demo.

by Papirfly

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