What Is a Superfan? The Backbone of Your Business

What is a superfan? Why are superfans important for business?

In Superfans, Patt Flynn argues that superfans are the lifeblood of your company. He covers what superfans are and how they benefit your business.

Continue reading to learn more about these loyal customers.

Superfans and Their Benefits

What is a superfan? Flynn explains that a superfan is someone so passionately devoted to a brand that they have made it part of their identity and daily life. Superfans travel miles for live events, buy closets full of merchandise, follow every new online update, and participate in a community of like-minded enthusiasts. 

When most people think of superfans, they imagine a fan of a TV show, a celebrity, or a band. Flynn points out that companies—such as Apple, LEGO, and Harley-Davidson—have superfans, too. In fact, he argues that superfans are your company’s greatest asset. Flynn asserts that the fierce loyalty of just 100 fans can be your brand’s biggest asset. He gives four main benefits: ensuring company longevity, acting as brand ambassadors, standing up for your brand, and contributing valuable feedback.

(Shortform note: In understanding why people become so attached to brands, it’s important to recognize that consumers don’t simply buy products they want to use—they buy products that express their identities. Many of the brands with loyal superfans have succeeded in associating their product with an image or lifestyle. Fans of Harley-Davidson associate the brand with individual freedom and an outlaw biker aesthetic. Apple fans associate their brand with creativity and innovation. Researchers have even found that consumer preferences in America are now splitting along political divides, with Republicans and Democrats even wearing different brands of jeans.)

How People Become Superfans

Flynn argues that no one becomes a superfan overnight. He explains that as fans repeatedly have positive experiences with your brand, they tend to move through different levels of connection to your brand. He explains that there are different levels of fandom: discovering customers, interested customers, connected customers, and superfans.

How To Turn Customers Into Superfans

Flynn argues that people ascend the stages from discovering customers to devoted superfans through repeated positive and meaningful experiences with the brand. Thus, they don’t become superfans by simply buying your products and liking them. Nor are there people who were simply born to be fans of your brand. Rather, your customers may start out skeptical or disengaged, but through the accumulation of these positive and meaningful experiences, they will become more and more engaged

(Shortform note: Customers become superfans through accumulated positive experiences because through these experiences, they are building a relationship with the brand. This reflects a historically recent understanding of branding. Branding began as simply a means of differentiating one company’s products from another, descended from the practice of marking livestock by burning letters onto their hides with actual hot brands. Since then, brand innovators have also conceived of brands as ideas and experiences and, today, see them as relationships. Business experts advise you to consider your relationship with your customers as something much closer and more personal than buyer and seller—more like guest/host or athlete/coach.)

What Is a Superfan? The Backbone of Your Business

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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