Word of Mouth Tip #88: Embrace your strange, crazy, and weird fans

While it may be difficult to imagine for some, a group of super-dedicated, enthusiastic, and non-traditional fans can be overwhelming for a brand.

It happens when a group of fans emerge from an audience well outside of what you thought was your target market, or perhaps when folks become really attached to your mascot, or even in parodies or remakes of your work.

Great word of mouth marketers look for opportunities these passionate fans pose and find ways to channel their energy into long-term loyalty.

How a word of mouth supergenius does it:

For years, LEGO focused on a target market of boys aged 7 to 12 — and largely ignored a “weird” group of adults who often emailed them with enthusiastic ideas and suggestions.

But as it turns out, this small, “weird” group of fans were some of the brand’s biggest talkers — and the most profitable. Where an active youth fan would spend $20 a year on LEGOs, an adult would spend upwards of $1,000.

LEGO began empowering these fans by helping them organize and share ideas, designing more products for them, and giving them the opportunity to create their own sets.

The results:

  • In 5 years, LEGO went from losing money to being highly profitable
  • LEGO is taking the lessons learned from empowering their adult fans to other groups of enthusiastic fans
  • LEGO is going beyond the bricks and is now launching a massively multiplayer online game to further connect their enthusiasts

Learn More:

LEGO’s mind shift from company to consumer — via Merritt Colaizzi at SmartBrief

Jake McKee’s live case study at Word of Mouth Supergenius


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  1. Jenette

    I just wrote about the Lego CL!CK community on Snoo.ws. While I wouldn’t label myself as part of that “weird” group of fans, I still had the sudden desire to play with lego afterwards. Great post.


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