Brittany Hodak, The Super Fan Company | Adobe Imagine 2019

Brittany Hodak, The Super Fan Company | Adobe Imagine 2019

September 13, 2019 0 By Bernardo Ryan


>>Live from Las Vegas, it’s theCUBE covering
Magento Imagine 2019, brought to you by Adobe.>>Welcome back to theCUBE
Lisa Martin with Jeff Frick and we are here live at
Magento Imagine 2019, our second time being
back here with theCUBE and we’re very excited
to welcome Brittany Hodak to theCUBE, entrepreneur,
customer engagement speaker, writer, co-founder of
the Superfan Company. Brittany it’s so exciting
to have you on theCUBE.>>Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.>>So, you have an incredibly
impressive background and I’m like where do we start?>>Thank you.
>>So, here we are talking about customer experiences
and how Magento and Adobe empower a lot of
customer experiences. But you’ve written a ton of articles, over 350, you’ve been
published in the Huff Post, Wall Street Journal, talk to us about your experiences
with customer engagement, some of the things that
you as a co-founder of the Superfan have discovered
working with a variety of brands from Walmart to Katy Perry?>>Well, thank you so
much for saying that. I always say that the
biggest problem brands and entertainers have is often one that’s not even on their radar at all. I talked to a lot of small and
medium sized business owners and they say, You know, my big problem is
people don’t know who I am. I’ve got an awareness problem. I’m struggling to let
people know who I am. And I really think my
business would change if more people knew. And I said, You know,
that’s not the problem. You can always fix awareness. You can always spend money to
get your message out there. Your big problem is apathy. Your problem is there are
people who know and don’t care. And you’ve got to figure
out how to make people care. You’ve got to figure out
how to connect your story with their story in a
way that’s meaningful, and in a way that’s going to
mean something in their lives because that’s how you really start the fan engagement process. That’s how you lay the
groundwork for creating a culture of super fandom amongst your customers, that’s really going to help
you grow not just the business but a brand.>>Is it about having a
more relevant messages or is it just finding those
people that have a propensity to be a fan to the
services that you provide?>>Well, it’s understanding
your uniqueness in a way that really makes your
value proposition different from anybody else is. Once you understand your uniqueness and you’re able to turn
it into service of others, that’s when you really you
position yourself to be able to make the kind of
difference that makes somebody want to be a super fan. And I always say, we’ve had the
fortune of working with tons of celebrities, some of the
biggest recording artists and superstars on the planet,
and a lot of times people say to me, Oh, you know, it’s
easy when you’re talking about being a super fan of Taylor Swift or being a super fan of
Katy Perry, but, you know, I’m a plumber or I’m an electrician, how can I have super fans? And I say, By providing people the kindness service that changes their lives. I have an exterminator
who I am a super fan of. His name is Scott and the
reason I am a super fan of him is because he makes sure there
are no brown recluse spiders in my house and I am absolutely terrified about recluse spiders. They are super evil creatures
if you’re not familiar with them, I encourage
you not to google it. They’re like nastiest
little bug in the world. But you know to me that’s super important because he’s not just killing bugs, he’s helping me feel safe in my home. So that’s absolutely a vital service and finding the right guy
to do that and the right guy to put my mind at ease and let me know there aren’t going to be brown
recluse spiders in my house is invaluable and because of that, like there’s no way I would
ever switch exterminators because Scott’s my guy. And I know you know, I can
text him 50 different pictures of critters and say, Is this okay, Is this okay? And he’s going to get back
to me and let me know. So, it’s all about points of
connection and finding ways to make your audience feel really valued, and connecting your
story with their story.>>So, if you look at an exterminator versus a Taylor Swift or
Katy Perry or Walmart, are there similarities and
what they need to do to deliver this service that’s impacting lives? Or are there fundamental differences?>>There are some fundamental differences, but there’s more overlap
than you would think. And I always say, if you think about it like a Venn diagram, you’ve got
your brand or your business, your service, your product, whatever it is that you’re providing, and you’ve got your customers over here. Where the magic happens is
that point of intersection, where your story overlaps
with their story, that intersection, that’s
where super fandom happens. And I like to talk about
something I call the four A’s of super fandom. So, you can, I see a lot
of people make the mistake of trying to talk to
everybody the same way. So, whether somebody is
encountering your brand for the very first time
or has been your customer for a long time, using the
same messaging for those people and that doesn’t work. So, I talk a lot about the four A’s. So, the first day is awareness. That’s when somebody is
first uncovering your brand, first interacting with your brand. The second a is action, that’s when somebody is actually
interacting with your brand for the first time. The third a is affinity. Those are the people who
are fans of your brand. They’ve sort of bought into your why, these are the satisfied
customers, I would say. And a lot of businesses stop there. They say, These are the
people who are satisfied. These are the people who
liked what I’m doing, they’re buying from me. And that’s a mistake that
a lot of especially small and medium sized businesses
make they sort of feel like, I’ve got these customers, I don’t have to do anything else. They’re not over delivering
or over serving them which is a huge missed
opportunity because if you do, you’re able to convert
people from that third A to the fourth a which is advocacy. And advocacy is where you
want to get the majority of the people because
those are your superfans so to speak, those are the
ones who are out there sharing your story and your why with other people, helping refer new customers
and new clients to you. So, I always say if you
can get past the affinity, the people who are happy with you but not really talking about it and really make them feel valued. That’s how you create advocates and advocacy is really
the super secret sauce when you’re talking about super fandom.>>So where should
people get started to try to build super fandom
within their client base? Is that really with the good customers that they already have, they
try to get them to be advocates or I think most people
spend so much time focusing on the fat end of the funnel
as opposed to on the narrow end of the funnel and converting
that transaction into a fan which is what it sounds
like you’re suggesting?>>Yeah, well, it’s important
to to focus on all parts of the funnel man, like I said that that awareness, that that fat of the top, you certainly need to be
dealing with those people to get them further down. But the skinny part of the funnel is really where you want
to make sure that people are continuing to drip out
to the other side to make those referrals for you. So, absolutely focusing on everybody. One thing that I am always
shocked I when I do consulting and work with small businesses
and medium sized businesses, when I asked how much
referral business they get, a lot of people don’t know that number off the top of your head. So, if you’re not tracking
the amount of referrals, you absolutely need to
know that as a metric, and the number one thing
that you can do to increase the amount of referral
business that you’re getting is by asking your customers for referrals. It’s so funny the amount
of people who say, I hardly get any referral business at all. And I say, Well, when’s
the last time you asked? When’s the last time that you
went to one of your clients or your customers and said, I so appreciate your business. And I wonder if you know
anybody in your network who could benefit from
our product or service. And they say, oh I’ve never done that. But yeah, they wonder why they
don’t have any referrals so–>>It seems like such an
easy step but to your point, you’re saying they’re
focusing on awareness, getting my brand, my
service, my name out there, getting people to take action?
>>Yes.>>And building that
affinity and then I’m good, but that simply asking
to make it a referral whether it’s a yelp or something as simple as that seems like a pretty easy step. Strategically, how do you
advise customers to get from that, take that if you
look at it like a funnel like Jeff saying, take that group of affinity customers and convert some percentage to advocates, what’s your strategy for
helping a consumer brand or even a service provider, like an exterminator for
actually making those conversions and then and then having that
be a really kind of engine to drive referrals, to
drive more leads to the top of that funnel?>>That’s a great question. So, I like to talk about
something I call the high five which is knowing the five
most important people that have the potential to
drive your business forward for the next quarter, the next
year and the next five years. So, this is an actual list of five people. And any business owner
hopefully can sit down and say, Here are the people that I
need to really super serve in order to move my business forward. So knowing who those five people are, it could be an advisor,
it could be an investor, it could be somebody
you’ve never even met, maybe a thought leader whose
thought that you really enjoy, that you think this person
could really help me and open me up to a lot
of people in their network if they knew who I was. Make a list of those five people, and then figure out how often you need to be doing something staying
top of mind for those people. So for me, I like to make sure it’s at least once every two weeks. So, sometimes it’s as
simple as sending an article and saying, Hey, I came
across this article, I thought you would really love it, wanted to send it your way. Now and reality, did I just
come across that article? No, I spent maybe an hour
looking for the right article to forward that person. It’s taking the time out to
show them that they matter to you, so whether that’s
sending them a nice gift in the mail for no reason or
a handwritten thank you note after they made an introduction for you. It’s checking in on things, I always say, you should
know what is important to the people who are important to you. You should know the
teams that they follow, you should know their
spouse, their children, the things that are
happening in their lives so you can check in with them. And we live in an age where
it’s so easy to get information about anyone because all of us
are putting content out there on the internet all the
time about ourselves. So take the time to figure out
what matters to those people who matter to you, and
then stay top of mind, letting them know that they matter to you. So, like I said, for me,
it’s once every two weeks and I look at my list of
five about every six months in terms of adding a couple of new people on maybe cycling some people off. But I’ve been doing this for four years. So, I have a list of 20 people. And I those are like my alums, some of the alumni of my high five, and I’m still extremely
close with all of them. I still make sure that I’m
trying to add value to them because having one person
who’s going to advocate for you could open the door
for millions of dollars of revenue for you. So, it’s just identifying
who those people are, because to your point, it’s
impossible to sort of make everyone the most important person, it’s impossible to take
everyone at that third step and take them to the fourth step. So, rather than holistically
thinking about it. I like to really drill in and
say let’s start with five. And if you’ve got 50 employees and you assign five people
to each of those 50 employees to say make sure this vendor
or make sure this customer, or make sure this partner
feels very appreciated by you on a regular basis. You’re going to, you really
start to see the ROI very, very quickly in your business.>>So some of the trends,
if we look at this we’re all consumers of any
kind of product service, we have this expectation,
this growing expectation that we’re going to be able
to get whatever we want whenever we want it, have it
delivered in an hour or a day, or so, we want to be able to
have this experience on mobile, maybe started there, maybe
finish it in the store, what are some of the
trends that you’re seeing that you recommend that the
company with any product or service needs to get on
board with, for example, this morning they were talking
about progressive web apps and being able to deliver an
experience where the person doesn’t have to leave the app, or they can transact something
like through Instagram. What are some of those top
tools that you recommend to your broad client base. You got to get on board with like mobile, for example, right away.>>Yes, I was going to say the
PWAs are absolutely critical, because I think we’ve all as
consumers been in the situation of trying to load something on our phone, and it’s five seconds goes by six seconds, I’m like forget about it.
>>We’re done.>>Yeah, I’m done, I’m over it. So PWAs is super important
because it’s all about putting your customer first and
making things simple for them. The other thing is making sure
that whatever system process you’re using, everything
needs to be connected. You can’t be managing stuff
across eight different platforms and expect for things not
to fall through the cracks which is I’m learning
so much here at Imagine and listening to all the
best practices of people who are using Magento to manage every part of their business because
something is seemingly minor as sending a confirmation
email twice instead of once or having eight hours go by
before the customer gets that, those types of things, say to a customer on a subliminal level, I’m not important, I don’t matter, they’re not putting me first.>>So just fan comes from fanatic. And there’s great things about fans, and some times there’s less
great things about fans and we’ve seen a little
bit of that here in terms of this really passionate
community around Magento. And it was independent. And then it went to eBay and
then it went back out of eBay. And now it’s back in Adobe. And it’s funny seeing the
people that have been here for the whole journey. Part of that responsibility, if you’re going to invite
someone to be a fan is you have to let them participate, you have to let them contribute. And often which we’re seeing, I guess, in Game of Thrones, I’m not a big fan, but if you get outside
of kind of the realm of where the fans want things to go, it can also cause some conflict. So, how to people manage encouraging fans, really supporting fans, but at the same time not
letting them completely knock their business off or hold
the business back probably from places where the
entrepreneur needs to still go?>>That’s a great question. There was a really fascinating
study that Viacom did a couple of years ago about fans. And especially in the under 35
sets, so millennials, gen Z. And the vast majority
of people felt like fans have some ownership of the
thing that they’re a fan of. And that’s a really
interesting study in psychology to think about these people
who feel the ownership. But you know, it’s true. You mentioned Game of Thrones, that’s a great example of seeing these fan bases who come up
with names for themselves, and who are tweeting in
real time about things that are happening. Magento a great example
because open source has been such an important
part of the culture and the history of the platform. These people feel in a very
real sense this ownership. And you’re right, I think sometimes that
scares small business owners, medium sized business owners. They say, Well, we don’t
want to relinquish control. We don’t want to put
ourselves in a situation where we’re upsetting people. And I would say, You’re right, fan comes
from the word fanatic. And that fanaticism, that passion is something you absolutely want. Because I would argue that
a greater threat than that is what I was talking about
earlier, which is apathy. You don’t want people to
be like, I don’t care. And passion is of course,
the opposite of apathy. And that’s what you’re looking for. So I would say, are you going
to put yourself in a position where sometimes there
could be a disagreement, you could upset somebody? Absolutely, but you those are the people, it’s like if you’re in a
relationship with somebody and you have a fight
that passion that’s there is because there’s care on both sides. You’re both super engaged, you’re both very passionate
about your position. So, having a system in place
to defuse that by saying, I hear you I understand
where you’re coming from, let’s figure this out together, is part of the customer service staff that you’ve just got to prepare for.>>Can you using, sorry Brittany, using all this data that’s available that Magento, Adobe et cetera can deliver and enable
organizations to understand that and maybe even kind
of marry those behaviors with apathy on one hand
passion on the other and how do we get to that happy medium?>>Exactly, how do we
get to the happy medium, what are the data points that matter? How are we, the idea of super
fan means something different to every organization. So, part of it is uncovering what it is that really matters to you. I always say a super fan is
somebody who over indexes and their affinity for a
product, service, brand, entertainer, therefore
increasing the chance that they’re going to
advocate on its behalf. So, thinking about, there could
be people who are spending a lot of money with your brand who just aren’t really that passionate about it. They’re not going to tell
people and that’s fine. But those aren’t the people who would be a quote unquote superfan, even though they may be spending
a lot of money with you. So, it’s figuring out what the markers are that are important
to your brand or service. I work with a lot of brands on this because it really is
different for everyone. But figuring out who those
people are and then talking to them because this is something that, there’s so much psychology around the why. Like why people behave the way we do that the consumer behavior, the internal and philosophical
drives that are making us make the decisions that we make and the best way to
uncover that is to talk to your customers because
a lot of times you’ll learn so much about your brand,
you’ll find so many things. I always love talking to
recording artists about this, they put out a new song or a new album and in the fans find all
these hidden messages>>Taylor is known for that.
>>Always some–>>Taylor is one of the best in the world. And a lot of times artists will say, Oh, yeah, like, I didn’t
do that on purpose but I’m totally going
to take credit for it because these fans found it. And oh, yeah, of course,
I meant to do that. So, you’ll find that some of
these customers understand your brand oftentimes better than you do which is a really fun thing.>>It’s also just the ecosystem. You my favorite one always
reference is Harley Davidson, guess how many brands get
tattooed on people’s arms, and just the whole
ecosystem of other products that were built up around the motorcycle, and to support kind of that community they weren’t getting
any nickels necessarily if somebody sold a saddle
bag or a leather jacket, or whatever but it was
such and it still is, I think such a vibrant community again, and as evidence by you
put a tattoo on your arm that it’s something to
strive for, not easy to get.>>Why we always say build
a brand not a business because the brand are
those things that people are connecting to. We were talking about NASA
before we started filming. I’m a huge space geek and
Lisa loves space having worked for NASA in the past and
that’s one of those things, I don’t know this to be true but I got to believe NASA way outpaces like every other combined
government agency in licensing. I mean, people walk around
wearing NASA logos on everything>>I saw at least three
of them this morning.>>Yeah, I mean, I
bought in the last month, probably three different
NASA licensed products. So I mean that’s the passion
that if you can connect to somebody on an emotional level and make your story part of their story. They want to represent it, they want to get that Harley
tattooed on their arm.>>That emotional connection
but also that personalization that’s key?
>>Yes.>>What’s difference in from
your perspective on a superfan versus an influencer? Are they one in the same?>>It’s a great question. So, they a lot of times
are one in the same and that same Viacom study
that I mentioned earlier. Something like two thirds of people said that they consider themselves
to be pop culture influencers which sounds like a lot. But if you think about
it, pretty much everyone is an influencer and
that’s because for Nielsen, the most trusted recommendation is or the most trusted form
advertising is a recommendation from a friend or a family
member, 92% of people trust a recommendation from a
friend or family member, which far outpaces every
other form of advertising. So in a lot of ways, these micro influencers are
the next wave of advertising. These advocates or these super fans are, I think in many ways an
untapped well of resources for the fans who drill in and you mentioned Taylor Swift before. How many people listen to
Taylor Swift for the first time because a friend suggested
they listen to Taylor Swift. I would argue that lots and lots of people and Taylor said something to me years ago that like a former manager,
or someone said to her, and that was, if you want to
sell half a million albums, you’re going to have to
meet half a million people. That was said to her when she
was like, 15, 16 years old and she thought, okay, yeah, I’m going to go meet
half a million people. I’m going to be befriend them, I’m going to listen to their stories, I’m going to let them know
what they say matters to me. And here we are, she sold, I don’t know, 50, 60 million albums, however
many she sold worldwide. And but that’s really where it starts, that one to one connection.>>Seems to just kind of
all go back to referral. And isn’t that sort of the
basic human connection? It’s like, are we trying
to over-complicate this with all these different
tools that simply, even with hiring and tech
or whatever industry, referrals are so much more important because you’ve got some sort
of connection to a brand or a person or a product or service.>>You’ve got that connection, you’ve got somebody who’s
already very well qualified. And I like to talk about
something that I call the wave method which the wave
is a ritual hello, goodbye. How many times a day do you
wave at people, countless. And virtually you say hello
to tons of people everyday. People who are coming to
one of your social pages, people who are engaging with your website. So I say, I encourage people
to think about that hello and goodbye, that interaction. Think of a wave as an
acronym and ask yourself, are you making everybody
who’s going to come into contact with you today feel welcomed? Is there something on your virtual site or in your real storefront. If you’re a brick and mortar business that’s going to make people feel welcomed? How are you making them
feel like they belong? The A is appreciated, how are you letting those people know that they are appreciated
by your business? I think I know I have often
felt like I’m a number or I don’t matter. Utility companies are notorious
for this for making you feel like they don’t really care if they have your business or not. Or they know perhaps that they’re going to because there’s not like
a different water company you can you can use it your home. And that sucks, like we’ve
all been made to feel like we weren’t appreciated
by somebody that we were doing a financial transaction with. So ask yourself, how can
you make your potential and current customers feel appreciated? The V stands for validated,
and one of the best quotes that I’ve ever come across is from Oprah. On her last episode, she was
imparting some of the lessons that she had learned over the
years of hosting her shows and she said she’d interviewed
something like 30,000 people over the years, and they
all wanted the same thing. And that was validation. They all want it to feel
like they were important and their feelings mattered. I see you, I hear you what
you’re saying is important to me. So, validate your customers. One big mistake that I see
people make all the time in customer service is when
somebody has a complaint, having your rebuttal be like, Oh, I’ve never heard that before. Or it’s 10,000 people haven’t
have had great experiences. That’s absolutely the worst
thing that you can ever say to somebody because you’re bringing in other experiences that
don’t matter to them. It’s a one to one conversation. It’s a one to one relationship. So bringing in, that’s like having a fight
with your significant other and saying like, Well none of the women I dated before you ever had a problem with this, like how well is that going to go over? Like you don’t want to
bring in other experiences. So that V and wave validated>>And the E?
>>and then the E is excited, making people feel excited
because that passion, having people feel like
you know you’re excited that they’re a customer of yours
and you can bring something that’s going to make their lives better is the most important key.>>Brittany, thank you so much. I could keep talking to ya. I wish we didn’t end but we do, for sharing your
experiences, your expertise, your recommendations on
becoming any kind of brand with any product or service,
generating the super fans. We appreciate your time.>>Thank you so much. It was so great speaking
with you guys today.>>Ditto.
>>Thanks.>>For Jeff Frick, I’m Lisa Martin. You’re watching this on theCUBE live from Magento Imagine 2019 from
Vegas, thanks for watching.