What’s the best competitive advantage any business can have? Superfans!

What’s the best competitive advantage any business can have? Superfans!

By Brittany Hodak , Dec 14th 2022

BookPal has had the pleasure of working with Brittany Hodak in promoting her new book, Creating Superfans. In this exclusive article, Brittany shares how to create your own legion of superfans, loyal customer advocates who will transform your business.

Fandom and identity are intrinsically linked. The things we love become part of our personal stories and influence the way we see the world and everyone who lives in it. They play a role in how and why we form relationships with those around us.

Some fandoms are chosen for us. I grew up in a strict Dr Pepper household: if it wasn't Dr Pepper, we didn't drink it. I'm a third-generation Peanuts superfan, raising fourth-generation fans whose nurseries were decorated with Snoopy-themed artwork, toys, and bedding long before they had a say in the matter.

You may have been born into the fandoms for certain sports teams, or you may have been taught that one brand of toothpaste or tomato sauce is superior to all others. While these connections are interesting, I'm even more interested in the brand decisions we make for ourselves- the products, services, and companies we connect with and take with us throughout our lives.

I'm fascinated by our tendency to self-select the brands, products, professionals, and experiences that we will invite into our personal stories. Why do we love some things but not others?

Where It's At

Over the years, I've found that when brands consistently put customers first, everything else falls into place. Across every demographic and industry, customers pay for products, services, and experiences because of the way they make them feel. Large or small, businesses make more money, find more success, and become more loved when they are unfailingly customer centric. And if those benefits aren't enough, such businesses also become "uncopiable" in their industries, all while enhancing the lives of their employees and customers.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word "superfan" was first used in 1918 to describe "an extremely enthusiastic or dedicated fan." Yet, when I started saying "superfan" to prospects and customers almost a century later- when launching my first startup in 2011-I was often met with responses like, "You're talking about teenage girls screaming for boy bands, right?" or "Isn't a 'superfan' one of those gamers who lives in his parents' basement?"

I would explain that while, yes, those are extreme examples of superfans, that's not the totality of the term. "Superfans" aren't just fanatics on the enthusiastic fringes of pop culture. In fact, they are all around us, making a huge impact on nearly every sector of the economy. They exist for every category of product and service. They come in all ages and from every background and income bracket. And while it may not read "superfan" on their government-issued IDs, that's exactly what they are: loyal, enthusiastic advocated whose recommendations influence the actions of those around them.

My new book, Creating Superfans, isn't written to help the existing superstars grow their fanbases: it's a manual for the rest of us. A proven, easy-to-implement system that anyone (including you!) can put into practice to transform from a potential commodity provider into a category leader in the eyes of your prospects and customers... and maybe even a category of one.

Over the past fifteen years, I've worked with brands of all sizes-from early-stage startups to beloved nonprofits to corporate titans like Walmart and Disney- to help their executives, salespeople, marketing teams, product designers, and service representatives create, engage, and multiply superfans.

Creating superfan customers should be a top priority for every businessperson and every brand today. A well-executed superfan strategy is one of the most powerful ways to futureproof any business against competitors and market conditions.

A superfan is a customer or stakeholder who is so delighted by their experience with a brand, product, or service that they become an enthusiastic advocate.

Sounds like the customers you want, right? Well, here’s the thing. You can’t buy superfans — you can only create them. And superfans are created at the intersection of your story and every customer’s story. They are forged at that magical, overlapping point where it becomes obvious that you share a common purpose or passion. Your thing matters and is relevant to their thing.

That core principle is the foundation of a five-step system called The SUPER Model that I’ve taught to thousands of leaders over the past decade. It’s helped small-business owners grow their annual revenue from under $100,000 to more than $10,000,000, and it’s inspired leaders at Fortune 500 brands how to reframe the way they think about customer experience. 

This Is How We Do It

The SUPER Model is powerful. And, like most powerful models for change, it is simple by design. Simple to remember, simple to teach to your team, and simple to implement, measure, and refine as needed. That's right, this SUPER Model gets even better over time. It's like the Heidi Klum of customer experience frameworks.

Customer experience is not a department-it's a philosophy that must be embraced by every member of an organization. When executed correctly, it becomes your most powerful competitive advantage. 

If you want to create superfans, being great is no longer good enough. You've got to be SUPER: 

S | Start with your story

Why start with your story? Because your clearly defined story is your superpower. It’s what helps you go from a potential commodity in the minds of your customers and prospects to a category of one. What sets you apart from every competitor, current and future? What’s that secret sauce that no one could copy? Getting clarity on your story is one of the most powerful (and profitable) exercises you can undertake, and the benefits will last a lifetime.

U | Understand your customer’s story

You remember where superfans are created, right? At the intersection of your story and every customer’s story. So, after getting clear on your story, the next step is to turn your attention to that of your customer.

Any good marketer will tell you that when you try to attract everyone, you end up engaging no one. And yet that’s what so many brands and businesspeople do: craft forgettable messages for mass consumption by large, general audiences.

P | Personalize

The third step of the SUPER Model is personalize. You’ve got to personalize your process to better connect with the right customers in the right way, whether you’re working on a handful of six- or seven-figure deals or tens of thousands of direct-to-consumer transactions worth a few dollars each.

E | Exceed expectations

The letter E in SUPER is all about exceeding expectations. In today’s competitive environment, customers aren’t just comparing you to the best product or service they’ve received from your competitors. They’re comparing you to the best product or service they’ve received anywhere. Exceeding client expectations isn’t a nice-to-have—it’s imperative.

R | Repeat

SUPER customer experience doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when systems are designed, taught, implemented, and measured— again and again. Creating superfans isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it activity. It’s a cultural shift that becomes part of the DNA of your brand.

The Way

Every company gets to choose what it wants for its customers. Let someone else be average. Your customers are craving more.

Treat every customer like an influencer and you will be rewarded with loyalty and lifetime value beyond your wildest imagination. Align your team around this all-important cause and you will be creating superfans in no time.

For (much, much!) more on The SUPER Model framework and a roadmap for turning your employes and customers into superfans, order copies of Creating Superfans today.

Article Written by Brittany Hodak, award-winning entrepreneur, author, and customer experience speaker

BookPal has partnered with Brittany to bring you exclusive offers when you preorder 25+ copies of her new book, Creating Superfans: How to Turn Your Customers Into Lifelong Advocatesreleasing 1/10/2023. With a free Creating Superfans masterclass, virtual keynote with Brittany herself, and more make sure you don't miss out on this limited time promotion!

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