Sonder | How to create brand addicts
5 steps to create brand addicts that are fiercely loyal, passionate advocates and will stop at nothing to purchase more of what you offer.
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How to create brand addicts

How to create brand addicts

The concept of an addict is an intriguing one. On the one hand, the term conjures up negative images of people hooked on drugs or alcohol, but if you think about it in a marketing sense, addicts are exactly what businesses want. They command authenticity, they are fiercely loyal, they impose their dedication upon others with great passion and they will stop at nothing to purchase more of what you have to offer. Think of Louis Vuitton, Nike, Harley Davidson, Ferrari, Apple, Cadburys or Amazon, these businesses have created addicts around the world.

So if you’re up for creating some addicts for your brand, here’s a handy 5 step guide using addict-creating masters Apple Music & Red Bull as examples:

1.Get people using it in their world first
If you are trying to change people’s behaviour then you have to start slowly, otherwise your message will appear so far from the norm as to invite rejection. Take it into their environment, infiltrate their existing behaviours and invite them to try something new on their terms.
Eg Apple Music for free with a Telstra plan on a device customers are familiar with: their mobile
Eg When Red Bull launched they handed out free samples at the perfect consumption moment: thirsty club leavers at 2am

2. Repeat again and again
Unless you are dealing crack cocaine, once is not enough to create a habit. You need to repeat step one until the habit is formed. Your ability to form a habit will vary enormously according to your product’s barriers to entry (price, emotional attachment to the existing paradigm, social reaction if I switch, effort required v’s return and so on).
Eg Apple offering free music for 2 years, not one month
Eg Red Bull persevering with sampling to the same audience for years whilst branching out to different locations, like the beach

3. Make it irresistible
Decode the psyche of the audience to ensure your brand is congruent with their lifestyle, their wants and their idea of what constitutes value. Then deliver that value. Don’t just promise it.
Eg Apple Music being limitless not restricted.
Eg Red Bull supporting grass roots action sports from the early days, demonstrating their understanding of customer passions

4. Reward advocacy
Addicts are very good at getting other people hooked too. They are very persuasive because often they benefit from others sharing their joy, both emotionally and socially. More powerful still, is some sort of financial reward that they get from ‘introducing a friend’ to the brand/product/experience. This might be points, more experiences, future discounts or more product.
Eg Apple Music family sharing programme
Eg Red Bull rewarding their addicts through endless amazing events, experiences, and content

5. Take your DNA mainstream
Having started off attracting a very specific, small group of addicts, nirvana is reached when people from all walks of life start seeking a taste. This doesn’t mean you have to change what you offer, no, no, no, you must stay true to what created the following in the first place. Drug dealers don’t change their heroin for celebrities.
Eg Apple Music broadening out its ambassadors from Leon Bridges to Drake
Eg Red Bull injecting their extreme sport DNA into skydiving to create space diving

Brand addicts are extremely valuable to your business and should be nurtured and encouraged!