Magazine article USA TODAY

Bands and Brands Need Loyal Fans

Magazine article USA TODAY

Bands and Brands Need Loyal Fans

Article excerpt

Most companies spend a lot of time and energy trying to find and keep customers. What they really should be doing, however, is creating fans, indicates Roger Blackwell, professor of marketing, Ohio State University, Columbus. America's staid, button-downed firms would do better by following the path of the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Madonna. These rock stars, and others like them, have developed a loyal fan base which goes beyond being just customers of music, concerts, and apparel. They are passionate advocates of their favorite musical acts. Companies can develop the same kind of devotion to their brands, says the co-author of Brands That Rock: What Business Leaders Can Learn from the World of Rock and Roll.

"In today's hypercompetitive environment, the most effective marketing strategy is to have your own fans evangelizing to others to become customers and eventually [devotees]," Blackwell explains. For instance, one can see the fans of Abercrombie and Fitch evangelizing by wearing clothing with the company logo. Instead of paying people to advertise, Abercrombie---like other companies such as Nike--have their customers doing the advertising for them. …

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