Turning Customers Into Lifelong Advocates 

This week we welcome Brittany Hodak to the Digitally Irresistible podcast. Brittany is an entrepreneur, author, customer experience keynote speaker, and author of over 350 thought-leadership articles for a variety of national media, including regular columns for Forbes, Adweek, and Success. 

Brittany has spent her entire career studying the psychology of superfandom, while working on fan strategy and product campaigns for some of the world’s most iconic brands and global superstars, including Walmart, Disney, Amazon, Luke Bryan, Katie Perry, the Boston Red Sox, and many more.   

Now, she’s distilled everything she’s learned in practice and poured it into her book, “Creating Superfans.” In the book, Brittany shares her SUPER model framework for fan engagement with memorable case studies from businesses of all sizes.

From Bumblebee to Super CX Expert 

From childhood, Brittany Hodak (then Brittany Jones) always wanted to work in the entertainment industry. At 16 she landed what she thought was the coolest job in the world when she became the mascot for a radio station. Dressed as a bumblebee, Brittany attended every car dealership opening, state fair, and Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.  

When the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary was coming out, the station manager thought it would be cool to publish a Brittany Jones’s Diary on the station’s website but didn’t know what it should cover. Brittany suggested that she interview every band that came to town, to attract more traffic to the website. So, as a 17-year-old in the small town of Roland, Oklahoma, Brittany’s job was to hang out with rock stars and brag about it on the internet. Turned out to be a cool job, after all. 

Throughout college and working at record labels, entertainment agencies, and music magazines, Brittany’s obsession with the idea of fandom remained her driving force. She needed to know what made some bands go viral while other bands just went away. Why do some people love some things and not others? 

After working with more brands and larger agencies, Brittany went back to school and earned a master’s degree in consumer behavior and marketing.  

Then came her aha! moment:  

All of the markers she’d recognized in fans of bands applied to consumers in every category. She realized that if she could take everything she’d learned in music and teach it to people at brands, she could help them build superfans like the rock bands she witnessed. And that’s what she’s done ever since, working with brands and organizations that aspire to become iconic brands in their category. 

Marketers and CX professionals will find Brittany’s SUPER model framework to be a game-changer: simple to learn, deploy, and measure.  

The SUPER Model Framework 

Brittany says that to win, you must create superfans. 

In an economy where technology makes it so easy for any startup brand to disrupt a category, your brand is the only thing you have to futureproof your business. Your brand depends on superfans—the loyal, enthusiastic customers who keep coming back and advocate to their friends on your behalf—and the SUPER brand experiences that turn your customers into superfans. Heart

For Brittany, it’s all about “curating the journey for people to be delighted with their experience.”

For Brittany, it’s all about “curating the journey for people to be delighted with their experience.” 

S-U-P-E-R is an acronym, designed to be super simple to remember and teach your team how to use. Here’s what it stands for. 

S: Story 

What’s your story? Why do you exist? How do you make your prospects’ and customers’ lives better? Why are you a better choice than your competitors? 

The answers to these questions are your superpower, and you must make them clear to your prospects and customers. Everyone on your team must be well-versed and aligned with your story. You must intentionally design every experience you create for customers and prospects so it’s true to your story. 

U: Understand Your Customer’s Story 

Actively listen, not just to show authority, but with empathy.  

Really understand the challenges the customer is trying to overcome—the transformation they’re looking for—so you can determine if your miracle product or miracle service is the one that’s going to offer that transformation. 

You’ve got to know your customer’s needs, both inside and outside their relationship with your brand, because the full picture is relevant to what you do.  

Superfans are created at the intersection of your story and every customer’s story, where yours and theirs overlap. That’s where the magic starts to happen. 

P: Personalize 

Having yours and your customers’ stories in hand is a good start. From there, you need to personalize customers’ experiences. 

Customers’ expectations have never been higher. When buyers consider your brand, they don’t just scrutinize it in the context of competitors in your sector, but of every brand they interact with, regardless of category. 

In your communications with customers, demonstrate that you understand them, know their needs, and how you’ll take care of them. Let them know they’re not just a number. 

E: Exceed Expectations 

There are three types of customer interactions. At the end of every interaction, your customer is going to leave feeling better, worse, or exactly the same. Either you’ve improved their day or added friction or chaos to their day. Or, it’s like a nothingburger. They just check it off their list and move on with the rest of their lives. 

With intentional experience design, you architect experiences you want your customers to have before, during, and after the interaction. With a little bit of creativity, empathy, and curiosity, you can turn otherwise forgettable moments into something worth talking about, something that makes customers smile, something they’ll remember, and something they’re likely to repeat. 

When you succeed in making something special of an otherwise forgettable moment, you exceed expectations. That’s likely to lead customers to come back, and to tell someone about their experience. 

R: Repeat 

Exceeding expectations isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. It’s a day-in, day-out commitment to customer centricity and customer obsession—going deep, wanting to create those remarkable experiences, wanting to differentiate yourself. 

As Elizabeth Arden said, “Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.” 

You’ve got to give your customers a differentiated experience over and over and over again to earn a reputation that’s going to bring your customers back, that’s going to create super fans.

Brittany’s CX Expectations 

Brittany’s CX forecast is that customer expectations will continue to go through the roof. People will continue to want more and more, in terms of both technology and innovation; in terms of the speed and the immediacy that we demand, and also in terms of the creativity and personalization. 

Customers may experience something in one category and expect a similar experience from brands in other categories. We have expectations and we say, “If it works over there, it should work over here.” 

What Brittany Does for Fun 

Brittany and her husband love to travel and go on adventures with their two young children. Whether they’re going to Disney World, the local zoo, or the science center, Brittany says her favorite thing is to rediscover the world through the eyes of her kiddos. They give her insight into the future customer that’s going to demand even more, leading her to ask questions like, “Why don’t they have an automatic door,” or, “Why doesn’t this restaurant have an app?” 

To learn more about Brittany and the SUPER model framework, connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her website.

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