Creating Brand Advocates: Marvel’s ‘Avengers’-style
If you’re a self-professed comic book or movie nerd, then I don’t need to tell you about the hype (and pure utter excitement) surrounding the upcoming release of Marvel’s The Avengers.
If multi-million fantastic action flicks aren’t your thing, The Avengers is an epic culmination of four years, five movies, and seven iconic comic book characters. The movies have been dominating at the box office each summer and leaving thousands of new brand advocates in their wake.
If you had asked me in 2007 who this guy was, I would've just shrugged.
As you may have guessed, I’m one of them. But before the chain of Marvel movies started in 2008, all I knew was that The Hulk is green and that Thor was some cartoon guy from Adventures in Babysitting. I wasn’t a comic book reader and I had no interest in Iron Man.
Now? I’ve been reading comics, I’ve researched the characters, I’m always trying to stay up-to-date on Marvel’s movie production news, and I love to chat about Avengers anything at any time.
How did Marvel turn ambivalent passersby into voracious fans? These used these brilliant tactics that you can copy to create your own legion of brand advocates.
Provide serious quality. When Marvel Studios started producing their own movies about their own comic book characters, the quality of their movies showed. They’ve been well-received by critics, casual movie watchers, and even longtime comic fans. Yes, feel free to link me to negative reviews, but overall, they are solid movies and they are a solid source of enjoyment.
Nothing will garner new brand advocates more than a quality product. Nothing. If your product or service is something fantastic, your clients will be swayed instantly, and they’ll become instant fans of yours.
Reward established fans, but don’t exclude new ones. The movies leading up to the Avengers movie have been origin stories. So for people new to the characters, they could see the movie without feeling lost. For fans of the comics, the movies made allusions to their print origins with nods to special characters, costumes, dialogue, or settings.
There’s nothing wrong with running a special promotion to attract new clients. Just make sure that your current customers are getting something out of the deal. Boost Mobile, for example, offers low rate plans to attract new customers, but reduces their current customers’ bills from $50 to $35 in increments of $5 every 6 months.
Now Iron Man, Spider-man, and I get together for brunch every third Thursday.
Give a taste of what’s to come. One of the signature Marvel moves is to post a little teaser of an upcoming Marvel film or a bonus scene at the end of their current release. Robert Downey Jr. showed up after the credits of The Hulk, Thor’s hammer was featured after Iron Man 2, and a full teaser trailer for the Avengers was tacked on to the end of Captain America.
Keep the hype going. Are you about to release a new product or redesign your website? Then get your customers excited about it! Make full use of your social media. Post cropped pictures of a tiny part of your new item. Tweet semi-cryptic messages about your upcoming service. Organize a promotion. If you make it exciting, your fans will find it exciting.
Yes, there are other reasons why Marvel has millions of fans (really attractive stars might have something to do with it), but they wouldn’t have their current fanbase without the three core principles I just listed. Applying these to your own brand will help build a foundation to increase the number of your own passionate brand advocates.
What are some other ways to foster new fans? Have you used any of these tactics previously? Who would win in a fight: Captain America or Thor?