Teams Score Big With Fans And Franchises!


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Dunkin’ Donuts, Honda, and McDonald’s are all gigantic brands with huge reputations. However, each of them has something else in common. They have each partnered with a sports franchise in a brilliant play to boost the emotional engagement with the team’s fans.

Each program targets specific team fans and celebrates that connection with a reward. Dunkin’ Donuts gives DD Perks® rewards program members coffee for $.87 after every win during the season in honor of Tight End, Rob Gronkowski (#87) as part of their relationship with the New England Patriots. Honda paid for parking for all the fans that drove Hondas to a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game. McDonald’s and the Philadelphia Eagles have several programs in play, starting by giving away $5,000 in tokens to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), for fans to use to see the last exhibition game.  McDonald’s also has text-to-win sweepstakes to win tickets and sidelines passes, lunch with one of the Eagles team players, dinner with coaches, and more, all season long.

McDonald’s has also taken their relationship with the Philadelphia community a step further. Philadelphia area McDonald’s donate 100% of the income generated from coffee sales to a local youth homeless shelters. McDonald’s also has an Archways to Opportunity program that helps their employees continue their education, whether that means learning English, finishing secondary school or earning their college degree. In nearby Delaware, McDonald’s owners across the state have a Coffee with a Cause program that uses 50% of the net coffee sales to support a charitable organization chosen in the area by owner/operators.

These specific efforts to connect with local communities achieve three brilliant goals:

  • Emotional Engagement with Customers: Associating your brand with a sports team that has devoted fans or a program that “gives back” to the community creates a positive association with your brand in these customers’ subconscious that they remember later when making buying decisions.
  • Employee Engagement: Your employees are people, and likely support the same team or local causes. It’s fun for employees to have a promotion that makes Customers happy. It also feels good to have a higher purpose and do good for others. These positive feelings tend to spread. I always say, “happy employees make happy customers.”
  • Promoting an Image of Corporate Responsibility: More customers are concerned about how their brands fit into the overall picture of social responsibility; having a campaign that connects to one of these important principles further solidifies your brand’s emotional bond with the individual.

Best of all, it works. When the “Helpful Honda Employee” told one of our team members that Honda drivers parked free, she was surprised and delighted. It created a positive memory for her. She doesn’t remember who the Angels played or who won the game, but she remembers that Honda picked up the parking.

Happy memories are essential to your Customer Experience. In my latest book, The Intuitive Customer: 7 imperatives for moving your Customer Experience to the next level, co-author Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University and I talk about the importance of memories for your Customer Experience. Our 7th Imperative is:

Realize that the only way to build customer loyalty is through customers’ memories.

In other words, when a customer chooses to come back to you, it’s not because of the experience they had with you. It’s because of the experience they remember they had with you.

What you remember about an experience depends on how intense the stimulation is. Happy surprise is a keen emotion, so it creates a lasting impression. However, emotions work the other way, too. Negative emotions can also create glaring memories. No one wants negative feelings creating the memories about your Customer Experience.

Customers today are bombarded with brand images and messages nearly everywhere they turn, which can lead to them giving yours the Heisman. Fans have intense feelings that create memories about their favorite teams. Associating your brand with these powerful feelings creates emotional engagement with your brand, too. These positive emotions can create positive memories about your brand that score big with customer loyalty.

To learn more about these fascinating and compelling concepts for yourself and business, please register for our 3 part Training Course based on our latest book:The Intuitive Customer: 7 Imperatives for moving your Customer Experience to the next level (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) for only $59!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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