As we approach Super Bowl Sunday, there is naturally a lot of talk about nacho dip, Katy Perry and the comical marketing endeavors of companies with several million dollars to spend on a 30 second time spot. Since there are football breaks between Super Bowl commercials and refilling the guacamole dish, there’s also a smattering of people talking about the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Amidst the cacophony of Super Bowl chaos, there is one vantage point on which the internet has yet to elaborate. Both of these teams have massively loyal fanbases. So, what can each team teach us about customer loyalty
The Seahawks demonstrate the success that is born out of atmosphere and gratitude. Anyone who has ever been to a Seahawks game will attest to the overwhelming presence of the “Twelfth Man,” or the additional “teammate” embodied by the fans as a whole. The Seahawks have attributed many home game wins to the earth-shaking (literally) power of their fanbase. The “Twelfth Man” has become such a Seattle staple that the Seahawks retired the number 12 in 1984 in honor of their fans. When the Seahawks make it to the playoffs, a “12” flag can be seen on the Space Needle, attributing the team’s play off status to the fans. This gratitude generates even more fan fervor, which ultimately benefits the team by driving them to victory (… and helping them sell a ton of 12th Man swag).
Applied to the hospitality industry: There are many contributing factors to creating the kind of atmosphere that in turn creates loyalty. Engaging your customers through creative promotions, raffles, giveaways and the like is an excellent place to start! Spice things up with a themed party, social media keywords for prizes or an in-store scavenger hunt for bonus points. Also, be grateful to your customers when you achieve success milestones. You wouldn’t be in business without your customers, and your gratefulness will inspire loyalty.
The Patriots demonstrate the role that consistent performance plays in growing and retaining a fanbase. They have had winning seasons for the last 14 years and their current record is 170-54 for a .759 winning percentage. They made the playoffs 12 of the last 14 years. They have been to 6 of the past 14 Super Bowls (including this year) and have won 3 times. If you live in New England, this consistent solid performance leaves you no reason not to cheer for the Patriots (well: that and the fact that there are no other NFL teams in the whole of New England).
Applied to the hospitality industry: Control as many factors as possible to be sure you are providing a consistently positive experience for your patrons. The value of having a loyalty program that’s always there for your customers (instead of just running promotions or special offers occasionally) is, in part at least, the fact that it helps provide a consistent positive experience for your customers. It’s great to surprise your customers with something special on occasion, but nothing beats consistent, thoughtful, intentional customer service.
So there’s the last Super Bowl article you need to read. Go eat some things wrapped in bacon and sing your heart out at the Half Time Show… you know we will!