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How TV’s Most Unpopular Network Won My Brand Loyalty for Life

Maybe I just love an underdog, but I’ve been an NBC fan for years. I know that some people have abandoned the network for other sitcoms (or more likely, trashy reality shows), or were up in arms when they temporarily shelved Community, but I continued watching.

Yet despite my love for Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and The Office, I could never claim that the network was my favorite.

But after my recent vacation to New York City, though, I am proud to say that NBC is my favorite network.

How’d they do it? Well, let me tell you!

Customer Engagement

My friend and I went into the NBC Experience Store in Rockefeller Plaza to pick up tickets for NBC’s Studio Tour. As soon as we entered the store, one of the sales associates greeted us, discussed NBC’s lineup with us, and offered to take our picture with a very classy cardboard cutout of the Today Show’s Matt Lauer.

I’ve never had a sales associate pay that much attention to me without trying to convince me to buy something.

Exclusive Perks

monologue rehearsal late night with jimmy fallon

Seeing Jimmy Fallon for free? Sign me up!

While debating if I wanted to buy a plush Li’l Sebastian, I was approached by one of the interns from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She asked me if I wanted to see Jimmy Fallon rehearse his monologue before they taped his show that night. For free. She explained that it’s one of their unadvertised perks. (Until now, sorry Late Night with Jimmy Fallon…)

Four hours later, I and fifty other people were seated in his studio while he read off monologue jokes and noted our responses.

Enthusiastic Employees

Nobody that worked for NBC looked like they hated their life. Sales associates in the store joked around with customers, tour-leading pages were knowledgeable and friendly, production assistants were absolutely stoked about the shows they worked for, and Jimmy Fallon and his crew acted like they have a blast every single day.

Their enthusiasm fed my own enthusiasm, even when I waited over an hour to watch Fallon’s monologue rehearsal.

Transparency

nbc behind the scenes

Ready to see behind the scenes magic!

While NBC’s Studio Tour was probably created to draw in more revenue, I enjoyed having the chance to see the sets of some of my favorite TV shows. While on the tour, the pages dropped little-known trivia, encouraged questions, and answered all queries thrown at them. The tour guides even sneaked in some hints about future guests on Saturday Night Live. The mention of Justin Bieber threw the female teenagers in my group into a flailing tizzy.

Takeaways from NBC:

  • Keeping your customers interested in you is key. Reach out via social media or in your brick-and-mortar stores and start a conversation with them.
  • Now that your customers are fans, keep up their enthusiasm by offering them something that no one else can get. Whether it be some exclusive content or a coupon, they’ll love you even more for it.
  • Customers can spot employees that hate their jobs (can you say Walmart?), and it will leave a sour taste in their mouth. Strive to keep your employees happy and to make your workplace a little less hostile.
  • Is there more to your company than your product? Your brand advocates want to know! Show some behind-the-scenes pictures, introduce your accountants, and let that personality shine!

NBC may make stupid choices about their programming, but they definitely know how to make it up to their fans in person. Short of canceling Community, there isn’t anything that would make me abandon my love for NBC – I have way too many positive experiences with their company.

Have you had a memorable experience with a brand that won them your business for life? What do you do to keep your customers enthusiastic about your brand? And if rival networks think they can do better than NBC, I’m more than willing to stop by and make an assessment – just send me the money for airfare.

IMAGE CREDIT TO MANDY KILINSKIS.


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on

Comments

  1. Cybernetic SAM

    That is really awesome Mandy! I don’t know about you but if I took a tour of the NBC building around every corner I would always be expecting to see Kenneth! it is such a weird feeling being face to face with places you have only seen on television it is very surreal! That is an awesome bonus that everyone was so helpful and nice (especially since they deal with tourist all the time), at least they aren’t like the typical New Yorker!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I kept hoping that Kenneth would show up! It’s funny, because one of the sales associates that helped me was named Kenneth (or at least that was the name on his name tag) and looked strikingly like Joel McHale. It was bizarre. In an awesome way.

      I was also surprised at how friendly everyone was! It was completely opposite of what I was expecting, actually!

  2. Rachel

    Great post, Mandy! I had a similarly positive experience touring Warner Bros. Studio in California. No one approached me about seeing a free monologue rehearsal, though — that’s awesome!

    “Short of canceling Community, there isn’t anything that would make me abandon my love for NBC”
    ^ No cancelling of Parks and Rec allowed, either!!

    • Alex Brodsky

      Woo! Warner Brothers! Do you remember who your guide was?! Was it me?

      • Rachel

        It was not you — unless you snuck out there this past January. :) Unfortunately I do not remember the guide’s name, but he was really nice and very informative! I’m sure you would have been an even BETTER guide though, of course … ;)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Agreed. Cancelling Parks and Rec would be a transgression that would also stint my love for them.

  3. Jen

    This is super AWESOME Mandy! Almost all my favorite shows are one NBC, so it makes me feel good that they are reaching out to their loyal fans. The Jimmy Fallon experience is so cool! I’m not a huge fan of his, but I have to say his show is pretty funny. I will have to look into touring the NBC building when I take a trip to NYC, great post Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      The tour is a little expensive, Jen, but I thought that it was definitely worth it. Not only do they take you to see the SNL sound stage, but they have some costumes and pictures on display, too!

  4. Alex Brodsky

    I’ll try to keep this comment as un-biased as I possibly can, seeing as we all know my feelings on NBC (stemming from how they screwed over Conan O’Brien along with many other issues).

    I’ll admit, it would have been awesome to see Jimmy Fallon. Also, your takeaways are very good. The one that reads especially true is showing your brand’s personality. That is what fans have already bought into, so experiencing it first hand is what will win them over even more.

    I’m glad the in-person experience made up for the downfalls in NBC’s programming. Now if there were only a way to get that experience to more fans around the country, then NBC might be able to climb its way out of the Network Cellar

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Don’t worry, Alex. Any time that anyone around NBC mentioned Conan, I shot daggers at them. And I made sure to announce loudly that the Dr. Oz set is where Conan used to shoot his show. I don’t think the pages knew what to do with me. (I made it up to them by answering all of their SNL trivia questions.)

      They played the tri-tone NBC jingle right at the beginning of our tour. Not even going to lie, it made me grin. They have their branding down to a T.

      We should pitch them some kind of mobile intitive – take the NBC Experience across the country.

  5. Jaimie Smith

    Mandy this is super cool!
    I’ll be honest, I never really wanted to (or I guess even thought of) touring a TV network’s studio. But after reading this blog, I am actually super jealous!! That sounds so cool. Its awesome you had such a fun experience with it.

    And your point about customers being able to spot out employees who hate their job is so true. And your example of Walmart was perfect! Whether you’re a regular costumer there, or only go in here and there to grab a few things, it makes such a big difference when dealing with unfriendly/unhappy people as opposed to happy people excited to help you out.

    Excellent job on this post, Mandy! :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Jaimie!

      I watch a lot of TV and I get very passionate about my TV shows, so going to see NBC’s studio was at the top of my list. But I can totally understand how people wouldn’t put it at the top of their own sightseeing list!

      You’re right! I’m 100% certain that I wouldn’t have had such a great time if the employees weren’t so stoked about their jobs.

  6. Amy Swanson

    I would love to visit the NBC studios, that’s a definite ‘must do’ on my list for if and when I visit NY!

    The first company that came to mind when asked, “Have you had a memorable experience with a brand that won them your business for life?” was Dunkin’ Donuts. Seriously, receiving free giftcards from them on ‘National Coffee Day’ clinched my love for them forever. While I still love to treat myself with Starbucks, DD is my everyday choice :)

    What a fun post to read, Mandy- great job!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      If/when you head out to NYC and visit NBC, I’d definitely recommend going on a weekday. Besides less foot traffic, that’s when they pass out monologue rehearsal tickets. I was in there around 11 am local time, if that helps. :)

      That National Coffee Day promotion was definitely awesome. If I wasn’t such a Starbucks fangirl already, DD might’ve become my coffee of choice. They still have my iced coffee loyalty secured!

      And thanks, Amy!

  7. Jana Quinn

    Awesome post, Mandy! I’ve recently become an NBC lover as well, and it’s nice to know that the

    This popped out at me: “Nobody that worked for NBC looked like they hated their life.” This is HUGE. As much as I pretend to have an objective view of a company’s product/services, enthusiastic (but not obnoxious) and knowledgeable employees have a huge impact on my experience and impression of a company.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You are not alone. (I’m assuming you were saying something about how glad you are that you’re not the only fan. WordPress likes eating comments.)

      An employee’s demeanor can make all the difference. If I’m shopping somewhere, and all of the employees look like they rather have root canals, I will definitely question shopping there in the future.

  8. CBS Rocks

    Down with NBC!

  9. Eric

    You know, had I known they hand out tickets for monologue rehearsals, et al…I would’ve totally ducked into the NBC gift shop. I did take that tour the first time I was out there. Won’t ever forget how incredibly small that SNL set is in person, compared to how big it seems on TV. Back to the point, though…smart idea asking folks to participate in something like they asked you to. If they’re a fan of someone like Fallon, great, and if not, they actually may earn some new viewers from it. Go NBC.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I know! That set was freaking small! I expected at least one more stage for sets.

      But yes, unless you were staunchly against a talk show host, who is going to say no to going see them in person? It’s definitely a win for NBC, and a great experience for fans.

  10. Scott Heitland

    Thanks for sharing this account, Mandy. I’m in the customer experience management business and love hearing stories like yours.

    Although I can’t recall who said it (Maya Angelou maybe?), I am reminded of the quote “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel.”

    What you experienced at NBC gets to the very heart of how to generate brand loyalty – NBC effectively tapped into the emotional dynamic of the customer experience and turned you into a champion of their brand.

    Your blog post, discussions with friends and family, etc. plant seeds in the minds of the people you communicate to and with about your experience. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to calculate, but there is no doubt in my mind that how NBC treats its visitors produces a long-term ROI for the company and brand.

    Everybody wins. Very cool indeed.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Hi, Scott! First of all, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! We really appreciate it.

      I’m glad that you liked the post, and I love that quote from Maya Angelou as well. I guess I don’t need to tell you the importance of really wowing your customers. I’m willing to bet money that it’s the easiest way to develop brand advocates – far better than coupons or contests.

      Thanks again for leaving a comment! :)

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