Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 11.33.53 AMIf you’re looking for ways to increase loyalty to your brand so that you can grow your sales, take a page from the playbook of Taylor Swift and begin by listening to what your fans (and customers) are saying about you.

It was recently reported in The Tennessean that as a gesture of thanks to her biggest fans for their continued support in her social networks, the country-pop superstar shipped personalized Christmas gift packages with presents based on the individual fans interests. She included a handwritten letter with each package and wrapped the gifts herself. A compilation video of these fans opening their gifts has racked up over 9 million YouTube views in three short days.

Why do we love this?

  1. Because it is totally unexpected. What makes people feel great about a brand is when there is an unexpected gesture of thanks. What creates massive loyalty between a customer and a brand is the element of surprise.
  2. Because fans & customers want to be heard. They want to know that there is someone out there listening to them. This is why they love Twitter – because they can express themselves directly with a brand in real time.
  3. Because it’s clever. She is reverse stalking her fans in social media to learn about their interests, and she’s using this information to drive her gift choices for each one of them.
  4. Because she is recognizing and rewarding her high tier fans for their loyalty. This is a big money move because inspires her mid tier fans to step up their engagement so that they too may someday be the beneficiary of a gift. This is really good brand management.
  5. Because she has effectively leveraged the videos of her fans opening her box and has broadcasted it out for others to see what she’s doing.  If she didn’t do this, I wouldn’t have heard the story from my daughter, I wouldn’t have written this article, and we all would have been a little less clever as a result. See how this works? We want to get people talking!
  6. Because this stealth marketing move is something any company can model, and though you may not get 9 million views on YouTube, you will see enormous return on investment in the form of lasting loyalty that results in increased referrals. You should absolutely be tracking who is referring new business to you, and if you’re active in social media, you should be tracking who is engaging in your content with their likes, comments and shares.

This is exactly how we stand out in a sea of sameness. Remember, it’s not the size of the gift, it’s the gesture that tells your customers that you’re appreciative, you’re listening and that you care about them. This is brand management 101.