What if your most powerful company spokesperson was devastatingly loud, but didn’t actually exist? What if your super fans were every fan?
I went to the Seahawks/49ers game Sunday evening in Seattle. The Seahawks dominated the 49ers in a night that broke the decibel record. It was mind-blowing. The Seahawks fans are loud. Really loud. And it was crushing to the 49ers, whose quarterback Colin Kaepernick lost the ability to communicate and even start plays.
The Seahawks refer to these obnoxiously loud fans as the “12th man” out of respect for the effect they can have on their opponents. There are 11 men on the field, but the 12th provides the advantage.
Who is your 12th man? Sure, many good brands have “franchise players”, or influencers who can activate their base and move sentiment single-handedly. And social media teams focus on finding those “superfans” through social listening and social analytics.
But, how many brands know how to create the “12th man”? How to mobilize enough everyday advocates to move the needle? Seattle broke the sound record not because they had a few superfans, but because they had everyfan. It was more than buzz. It was pain.
Everyday fans are the bread and butter of referral marketing. They are the kid who recommends an investment plan to his dad, or a buddy who jibes you for waiting in line at the airport when he has breezed through security using CLEAR. Their individual voices can pass unnoticed. But activate them, and they can be deafening.