On Friday I’ll be conducting a workshop at #Optsum that will center on one key question: Why do rockstars have ‘fans’ while companies have ‘customers’? Because at the end of the day, both groups are making a product that is being sold to people. But when we go to categorize those people, we think of rockstars as almost always having fans, and we almost always think of companies as having customers. Not fans.
Why? Do rockstars simply have a natural advantage in that they are selling a type of product that somehow makes it easier for them to have fans instead of customers? Perhaps to a degree, but at the same time companies Fiskars that sell products like scissors and products like WD-40 also have evangelists. So ‘it’s the type of product’ doesn’t tell the whole story.
I think what matters far more than the type of product, is how the company views its customers. Most rockstars have fans and most rockstars view their fans as people that they love and WANT to embrace. While many companies want to keep their customers at arm’s length. Some companies seem to even take an adversarial tone toward their customers.
I think rockstars feed off interaction with their fans, while many companies fear interacting with their customers. I’ll talk more about what I think that is in Dallas this week, and I’ll share my slide deck here on next week.
But I wanted to give you that something to think about. How does your company view its customers? How do you think your customers view you? If that perception was more positive on both ends, could those customers then become fans?