Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Do You Have a 12th Man Advantage?

The original 12th man - Texas A&M
Does your company have a 12th man advantage?

On the heels of Super Bowl XLVIII, I think we're all now familiar with the term "12th Man." In case you unplugged or tuned out for the last 72 hours, here's how it's defined on Wikipedia:

The 12th man or 12th player is a term for the fans within a stadium during American football and association football games. As most football leagues allow a maximum of eleven players per team on the playing field at a time, referring to a team's fans as the 12th man implies that they have a potentially helpful role in the game. Infrequently, the term has referred to individuals having a notable connection to their football team.

 I love this concept. It's about fan participation as much as it is about fan appreciation.

And it immediately reminded me of "the empty chair" that Jeff Bezos uses to remind managers and executives attending his staff meetings about the most important person in the room, i.e., the customer. The folks over at Openview Labs had the same thought.

Also from Wikipedia:

The presence of fans can have a profound impact on how the teams perform, an element in the home advantage. Namely, the home team fans would like to see their team win the game. Thus these fans will often create loud sounds or chant in hopes of distracting, demoralizing and confusing the opposing team while they have possession of the ball; or to persuade a referee to make a favorable decision. Noises are made by shouting, whistling, stomping and various other techniques. 

The effects of the "12th man" vary widely, but can be put in two categories. The first is simply psychological, the effect of showing the home team that they are appreciated, and showing the away team that they are somewhat unwelcome. The second directly relates to the deafening effects of a loud crowd.

In addition to the empty chair, I got to thinking about the deafening noise and the idea of helping your team succeed. And that got me thinking about two things: the voice of the customer and the benefits of raving fans.

At this point, I probably don't need to tout the finer points of listening to the voice of the customer. In the case of 12th man, those voices are heard loud and clear. And they are working to help their teams succeed. Ultimately, that's what your customers do for you when they provide you with feedback about their experiences, good or bad.

The voice of the customer becomes just a little bit sweeter when it's coming from your raving fans. Why? They are so important to the success of the brand.

Raving fans...
  • want to see the brand succeed and grow.
  • are happy to provide feedback, good or bad, to ensure that happens.
  • are less price sensitive.
  • choose the brand over the competition.
  • can't live without the brand, accept no substitutes.
  • are advocates; no, stronger. They are evangelists. They spread the word about your brand.
  • wear your brand, and want to show that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Tattoos, anyone? Have their own number?
  • openly recruit new members to the community.
Bottom line: They want their teams to win. Know any diehard Seahawks fans? Google "Seahawks tattoo." Yea, they've stuck with their team through good times and bad (lots of bad). And yet, they still proudly wear their badge of belonging.

So, does your company have a 12th man advantage? Are your customers still talking about you... 48 hours later?

If you really want to 'own' a customer, if you want a booming business, you have to go beyond satisfied customers and create Raving Fans. -Ken Blanchard


8 comments:

  1. Hi Annette,
    Great post. Seattle does an awesome job of incorporating the #12 in everything they do. Kind of like Bezos and the empty chair, they've created rituals that acknowledge and reinforce the importance of the fans.
    Here's a similar post about the 3 ways they create raving fans: http://www.9inchmarketing.com/2014/02/01/3-ways-to-create-raving-fans-like-the-seattle-seahawks/
    Best,
    Stan

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    1. Thanks, Stan. It is pretty amazing all that they do to rally around "12." Thanks for sharing your post, too.

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  2. Agreed. Excellent read, Annette.

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  3. Annette,
    Great story about Seattle Seahawks and their 12th man. Great insights and lessons that can be learned by all businesses.

    Fascinating also how the 12th man is integrated into everything they do and that the success of the Seahawks is intrinsically linked to the happiness of their 12th man.

    Adrian

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    1. Adrian, that's my favorite part, too: 12 has been integrated into everything they do. We always talk about weaving the customer throughout the fabric or DNA of an organization. That's what Seattle has done.

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  4. Lovely story Annette

    But I do have to take you up on your definition of "football"

    James

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    1. You would, James! Let me just say... "American football." :-)

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