I blog, Tweet and share on Facebook most of the cool stuff I come across on a daily basis. According to Rupert Murdoch, this makes me a ‘digital native’, but whatever label you want to apply, today it totally paid off.
As a long-term fan of the Jack Wills brand, my support of the British fashion label has, over the years, transcended both online and offline platforms – along with a lot of my closest friends. We shop with Jack, we party with Jack, and when we do, we tell people about it.
Take the annual Varsity Polo tournament at Windsor (JW’s sole, perfectly conceived sponsorship property): we’ll not only attend the event, but with a desire to soak up every last drop of JW goodness that can be squeezed from the day, we’ll also make sure we hit the renowned pre- and post- parties. Each of these supporting social events is a prime opportunities for JW product sampling, mobile shop units and giveaways – all wrapped up in a perfectly ‘fabulously British’ parcel of fun that completely encapsulates the brand’s personality.
But it doesn’t end there. Like us, each attendee (usually residing firmly within the 16-24 age bracket and thus 100% digitally native) will tweet, blog, share links, upload photos and update statuses continuously in the run up to and aftermath of each fully branded event – therefore spreading the word to their like-minded friends and colleagues, all of whom sit slap bang in the middle of the JW target demographic. They in turn will add Jack as a friend on Facebook, become a fan of the JW page and follow their every update on Twitter… and so it goes on.
However, little did I know until yesterday just how savvy the JW marketing team could be. Evidently all too aware of their mini ready-made army of (free) brand advocates online, they have decided to recognise and reward those who share the JW love.
Having over 2,000 followers on Twitter, they follow themselves only 21 (to date) – including, as of yesterday, me. This in itself (for an avid brand fan) is pretty cool in the Twitter-verse as it’s a stamp of approval from a brand you love – especially if you’re one of few. But, hey presto, at 8am this morning a special delivery package arrived at my door… a surprise thank you gift from the JW team no less. Complete with a handwritten note (-’Just to say thanks for being a fan! Keep the word up… Love Jack x’-), I had been sent a whole collection of JW goodies for doing no more than shouting about the things I love.
What is so clever about this smart move from them, is that not only I am now pretty much a fan for life (or at least, the foreseeable future), but they know that I will make sure everyone knows about it. For them, a minimal outlay has cemented the loyalty of one particularly vociferous fan, knowing that I would return the favour ten-fold in brand advocacy for them.
Naturally I did: by 9am I had updated my Facebook status and Twitter feed accordingly. By 10am I had three messages from other JW fans asking how I managed to get presents from Jack. And now I’ve posted this blog post as well. Offline, I’ve also told pretty much everyone I know.
For Jack Wills, engaging with their audience using the platforms that will give them the biggest share of voice is absolutely key. But what did surprise me is how they strive to show their fans how much they are valued - turning their online advocacy into currency for tangible, offline rewards. Cute, surprising recognition for those who love them best will, in the long run, grow their business exponentially.
No Jack, thank YOU.