If you have been paying attention to this here blog you’ve probably realized that every post is a living testament to my brilliance with a couple of tips on how to be like me. I wish I could say it was by design but honestly I have a really hard time writing about anyone else but me and my genius, but in the interest of keeping things spicy around here I am going to every once in a while talk up someone else and let them know I am impressed.
So here goes.
American Poet Laureate Jennifer Lopez, JLo for short once declared that Her Love Don’t Cost a Thing…and like JLo, I am pretty…and brand loyal (making me pretty brand loyal) but the list of brands I am unwavering for is a small as is hers I imagine. Now that I think of it I am the Herb Tarlek of Brand Loyalty since the brands I am crazy about fall under shoes and belts and underwear, hers are Fiat and other things from around the block. But enough about her, lets make this about me. You probably already know my allegiance in shoes is with Nike but i’ve never spoken about the fact that I only wear JON WYE belts and have so for over a decade. I have been a fan of Jon since a friend introduced me to his stuff but recently he did something really amazing that is worth sharing.
A while back I was scanning The Facebook looking for old friends who have picture folders labeled Halloween and I saw the above picture.
A keychain is the last thing I needed and honestly would have probably just given it to someone but for $2 I wanted to support Jon because I love what he does and he has always been cool to me in the past with hand written thank you’s, pre-emtive offer to replace something when we suspected the item wasn’t what it should have been and other such things that make him a good guy.
SO with all that in mind I order a keychain and much to my surprise I got an email from him (might have been automated but it didn’t seem it) minutes after placing my order letting me know that the keychain offer was really a clever rouse to reward super fans for being awesome and I was actually getting shipped a new belt (Valued around $70) and I just had to email him back saying if I wanted something bold or tame.
After the excitement wore off I started analyzing this and it dawned on me that he got me, and 19 others to PAY MONEY to self identify as super fans.
When I consult or speak at conferences about startup marketing I always say it is so important to know your first 100 fans. Lean on them and make them happy and the comments I always get back are “How do we find them? How much will it cost to identify them?” And I always say “You need to want to do it and on top of that you need to be a little creative. Use things like Dead Inventory so people can experience your product and tell people about it”
…and that is why this idea is really amazing.
This is the part of the post where I usually list a bunch of reasons why or how this idea came to be but since I didn’t create this idea (but will probably borrow it one day) I figured it only fair that Jon gets to tell you about the genesis himself….oh and when he’s done you should go check out his stuff.
“About 6 years ago I had key-chains made that were going to act as hang tags for the belts. I was not as savvy with my funds as I am now and I convinced myself that this, this key-chain hang-tag, was going to be what completed the aesthetic of the belt. THIS was going to make customers say, ‘oh yeah, this is a real professional product.’ Turns out I was just blowing money, adding more headache, and what customers really wanted was a top notch belt. Any of the other frills were just that. So I put more money into the refinement of the belt. About a year ago I came across a few lost cases of these key-chains hidden in my workshop, which (pops collar) is no longer in my parents garage. My first thought was, young Jon Wye, you really knew how blow some money on stupid stuff. Then Jeff (my cohort) and I started waxing on some ideas. We weren’t about to throw them out but wanted to do something positive with them. Very quickly we knew it had to be something that was going to show appreciation for our long time customers; people that have been with us so long that they would really appreciate a key chain and all the years that have gone into the company. So, we decided if some fan out there was crazy enough to spend $2 on a rubber keychain then they must really like us and there’s a big chance they have been rocking us for years. But selling a key-chain for $2 is just commerce and doesn’t show our customer appreciation. We decided that for the first 20 customers to order a key-chain, with no expectation of a deal, we would send them a free belt. It took a little bit to get rid of the stock we set aside because we didn’t advertise, except for facebook. We wanted people to find it naturally. So once an order came in for a belt we fired off an e-mail to each customer. It started like this, “YOU BOUGHT A KEYCHAIN FOR $2? How silly?!?!? Not really. Amazing choice. If you bought a keychain it means you really like our brand and what we are doing. For your loyalty we offer you a free random belt!” We then asked they tell no one and keep our secret. And it gave me a chance to really connect with the people that rock my little brand the hardest and who have really seen us grow. In the beginning we made amazing belts, but now they are unbeatable!”
Oh, and if you are wondering, this is the belt that was sent to me.