Recently I began a small site for the Wii console. With an awesome domain name, www.WiindUp.com, I decided to put it to good use and make a nice full featured Wii fan site. BUT was I in for a surprise?
Having seen a lot of companies put out “fan site kits”, I naturally assumed that Nintendo would feverishly throw one up as well. Afterall, they had gone through the trouble of creating such an awesome product and a marketing campaign to suit… except they offered me no help whatsoever in helping them build a consistent brand image.
In the long run, Nintendo have made my job much more difficult. Now I’m going to have to design a logo — from scratch — by myself and guess the colour schemes which would fit their desired brand image. Now, if my advocacy of their brand wasn’t enough to lose already, they had also forgone the cost in defining a particular (and consistent) brand image for the Wii.
From such a large corporation, you’d expect to see at least some support for the community out there - especially seeing as around 51% of marketers in the US last year were looking to use a blog in some way or another (well, according to a Forrester Research White paper released over a year ago) . Combine this with the fact that blogs are a form of social media - you’re going to have to participate and facilitate the discussion of thousands of bloggers. What could be any better than getting tonnes of exposure from free, user generated content?
I think you catch my drift.
Anyway here are 5 Reasons Why A Company Should Encourage Fansites With “Fankits”.
- Build A special kind of relationship with customers - When someone develops a site about you, they’re reaching out to form a special kind of relationship with your brand. If you beat them back, from easily developing a website for you, you risk the relationship you could build with this customer.
- Find out what people are saying about your products - Problems, bugs and mishaps. If you have a lot of people writing about your brand, you’ll no doubt come across posts and comments, bashing your brand. Save these mis-treated souls and you may win over a new advocate. Studies are showing that people become more brand loyal after their problems are fixed seamlessly and appropriately.
- Create and Deliver a consistent brand image across thousands of websites - Now, I don’t mean that you need 1 stock standard web template to give to your customers - no way! I think that some simple graphics, tips and advice on creating the perfect fan site would be ideal to keep a consistent message and spread it throughout the blogosphere would be more than enough.
- Reach The Longtail - All the rave at Mplanet 2006 was centered around social media and the longtail. If you have 1000 fans writing about you online, chances are they’ll be writing about you from 1000 fresh perspectives and those will dominate the search engines for you.
- Find out who your most dedicated customers are - Despite all this talk about the longtail, experts believe that customers (moreso than ever) are looking to go with a brand which they can associate with. So, perhaps if you treat your most dedicated and influential customers to updates, exclusive news and freebies, they may lend you a hand in stimulating more brand loyal customers.
So Nintendo, if you’re reading this now (probably not by the sounds of it) go and make a nice fansite kit for me!