Passion is a Two-Way Street
If you want to understand passion, look no further than a gathering that involves cars. Whether you’re at a local Cars & Coffee get-together or one that attracts an international crowd, such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, you’ll run into people that will literally hyperventilate when discussing their favorite brand. You’ll also find folks who will not blink while dropping some serious change just to show off their passion through branded gear, gadgets and accessories.
I just spent the weekend at Monterey Auto Week, arguably the top event for automotive collectors, vintage racers, and car aficionados from around the globe. You can’t escape corporate branding while you’re in town for a week of automotive sensory overload – and that’s just fine with the tens of thousands who attend. No, these consumers don’t consider it crass, commercial or otherwise “unauthentic” that they’re being marketed to – in fact, they’re paying hefty entry fees for just that experience.
Car aficionados aren’t so different from any other consumers – they want to know they’re wanted. Generating consumer passion requires courtship – whether it’s inviting owners to a hospitality area so they can see the latest product in a unique setting or some other type of “just for you” experience.
If you want brand loyalists who will proudly wear your colors (and debate anyone who dares question their allegiance), remember: passion is a two-way street. As a marketer, you have to earn loyalty and prove you care by being an active participant. It’s fine to engage digitally – but especially for enthusiast brands, there’s still nothing that beats face-to-face marketing.