3 Tips for Creating a Lifelong Customer from Porsche

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The other day we were talking in the office and Kurt, our Creative Director, shared this picture of his son at a weekend car event. Kurt is a member of PCA (Porsche Club of America) and his son, at a mere 5 years old, is a member of PCA Juniors.

In seeing this picture, I was struck by the pure branding genius of Porsche. Here is a child that has been not only exposed to the brand, but has been immersed in a joyful brand experience very early in his life. This young boy is likely to be a Porsche fan for life – and, more importantly (from a business perspective), a future customer.

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“The probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.”

As parents, we enjoy sharing our favorite brands with our kids, and Porsche has made this easy and fun by facilitating a group of young brand enthusiasts. Organizations that can involve both parents and kids help to create memories, connections, and long-term brand love.

By looking at the example of PCA, brands can learn a few tips for how to create a lifelong customer.

1.     Make Your Best Customers Feel Special

PCA was started in the early ‘50s by a Porsche owner in the DC area, just because he loved the cars and wanted to meet other Porsche enthusiasts like him. In 1955, the club launched with 13 members and quickly received official recognition as the Porsche Club of America by the Porsche factory.

By encouraging and facilitating the PCA, Porsche allows its customers to feel a personal relationship with the brand. A card-carrying PCA member is granted access to special Porsche events and social activities, which provides a feeling of exclusivity to only the most faithful Porsche fans.

2.     Let Your Customers Contribute to the Brand Experience

By 1958, the club had grown to several hundred members and they arranged a trip to the Porsche factory in New York. The factory graciously welcomed PCA members and made a special offer for them to take delivery of a Porsche straight off the line. This proved to be such a popular idea that the tradition is still in place today.  

It’s important to note that the PCA and its activities aren’t run by brand executives, it was created by a fan and the endeavor was happily encouraged by the Porsche corporation. If your customers are eager to contribute to the experience of your brand, provide them the opportunity to do so and reward them for it. It will only make them love you more.

3.     Reward Your Most Loyal Customers

Today, the PCA has grown to over 100K total members in 144 regional chapters across the country. PCA members receive many perks for being a part of the club, including social events, tech talks, drivers education events, help with technical problems, and more. Kurt especially appreciates receiving special parking and access to Porsche hospitality at races where the brand is participating. 

Fans love to receive praise and gratitude when they go out of their way to express affection for their favorite brands. When you have a customer that loves your brand, be open with showing appreciation through gifts, special offers, and a public expression of thanks.

 

With four generations that have major buying power in the market today, brands have the ability to bring in consumers at a very young age and capitalize on their loyalty as they grow.

How is your brand building lifelong customers? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

 

Earning lifelong customers requires a long-term brand strategy. 

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This starts with building a strong, solid foundation for your brand.

Fill out the form below to download your copy of our Brand Experience Worksheet. This four-page, easy-to-follow worksheet includes questions that will help you clearly articulate the vision for your brand, consider how you want customers to perceive your brand, and craft an experience around your ideal customer.

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How to Make Social Impact Marketing Work for Your Business

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Last night, I mentioned to my husband that I want to buy a handbag from FEED. For those who are unaware, FEED is a fashion company that provides food for malnourished children with each purchase. Their brand mission aligns with my desire to feed people and I like handbags.

My husband asked me, “Why is this social impact trend so strong today? Does it even work?”

The answer is a resounding YES and this “trend” is likely here to stay for many years to come.

I have been talking to clients and colleagues for years about the increase and prominence of social impact marketing on today’s buying habits. Many studies show that when all else is equal – price, promotion, product quality, etc - companies that give back to their communities win at shelf, both online and in brick and mortar stores.

We have also seen a rise in these efforts among both large CPG companies as well as in small startup companies. Whether they are introducing new products or new programs, companies today are focused on more than ingredients, process, and profit – they are looking to make a difference.

87% of Americans would purchase a product because that company stood up for an issue that they care about.

[Source]

How can your company successfully develop a social impact program?

1.  Stand for Something

Many CSR programs fail to make an impact because they don’t make their purpose clear. Donating a percentage of your sales to a random charity that you picked out of a hat won’t mean anything to your consumers. Any give-back program you develop needs to align with your company values and your brand mission.

Ben & Jerry’s, for example, has never been shy about their views on politics or social issues. During the contentious election season last year, they released a new product: Empower-Mint, a delicious blend of peppermint ice cream, fudge brownies, and fudge swirl. That flavor may be appealing to your taste buds, but it also vocalizes the company’s support for the Voting Rights Act and increasing voter turnout.

Sometimes when we’re passionate about something, we express it through ice cream. It’s our own special way of showing how much we care.
— Ben & Jerry’s

Whether or not you personally agree with their views, Ben & Jerry’s successfully sells more ice cream because they are vocal about the purpose of their social impact programs and their customers identify with their message.

2.  Communicate Your Efforts

Six years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the corporate offices of Johnson & Johnson and sit with the Chief Procurement Officer for lunch. He shared with me all the programs that Johnson & Johnson have in place, but I had never heard of them. They were clearly written in their annual report but not explained, promoted and delivered to the public.

Taking care of the community has, in the past, been more of a private endeavor for many large and small companies and it is now rising to surface.

If your company has a social impact program in place, support it with PR and get your message out there! For and CSR program to make any difference to your business reputation and your sales, people need to be aware that it exists.

3.  Don’t Forget About Profit

A few years ago, I read a book called Evolved Enterprise by Yanik Silver. It outlines 11 social impact models and talks in detail about why purpose-driven business models are not only growing in popularity, but are becoming a necessity to connect with consumers. I highly recommend that you read it.

The book inspired me to create an initiative called Labels4Good, which I launched at the Global Sustainability Summit last summer. The program was designed to give grocery packaging a purpose by donating food and resources to community food pantries around the country with every box sold. Companies could opt into the program and promote their involvement with a label on their packaging.

The challenge, I soon discovered, is that social impact models cannot be purpose driven only. They must first and foremost deliver clear profit. If it doesn’t strengthen the bottom line either by building goodwill and brand equity, then it must also deliver increase sales and revenue. Labels4Good was a purely philanthropic endeavor that I created from my own desire to feed people, which at the end of the day isn’t enough to build a successful company.

I haven’t given up on Labels4Good completely, but it’s an important lesson to always remember that businesses need profit in order to survive, even if the philanthropic intention is good.


Overall, I love this social impact trend, the purpose and the result. However, I caution everyone, business owners and consumers alike, to be aware about how you engage and interact with them. They can help us tackle global challenges, spread the word about social issues, and make us feel a little better about our desire to purchase yet another handbag.

How has social impact marketing effected your purchasing behaviors? What companies do you admire most? We’d love to hear!