What if we told you that by designing delight, brands could turn fans into super fans or better yet, loyalists?
Unless you’ve been on a social media vacation, you’ve seen “Chewbacca Mom” in all of her jubilant glory. Candace Payne brought over 145 million viewers delight with her masterful unraveling of joy through a Chewbacca Star Wars mask. The four-minute video broke Facebook Live viewership records and earned Candace appearances on “Good Morning America” and “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” and a personal visit to the Facebook headquarters.
For viewers, the video was enjoyable and heartwarming – so much so that many people are rooting for Candace to parlay her 15 minutes into opportunity for her family. From a communications perspective, it was pure opportunity heaven for Kohl’s – but only if it responded in a timely, authentic way. So Kohl’s decided to engineer even more delight for viewers.
Seizing the moment, Kohl’s rewarded Candace’s customer loyalty by giving her and her family $2,500 in Kohl’s gift cards, 10,000 Kohl’s bonus points and a yard-full of Star Wars toys. They captured her response on video, generating 32 million views. The gesture was low-risk for the company, providing a natural extension of Candace’s love for Star Wars and rewarding her for her loyalty to Kohl’s. By celebrating and rewarding a fan in a way that produced such raw emotion and shock, Kohl’s created more goodwill and love among its customers. Candace wasn’t expecting anything in return for her video, making Kohl’s gift that much more impactful.
So what worked? Kohl’s was timely, being the first to reward her. But the company also had a seat at the table, because her experience originated at Kohl’s. Facebook also had an authentic tie-in, given that her use of Facebook Live was so well received; hosting her at Facebook was a great way to reinforce why people should use Facebook Live. Disney wanted to play too, but realized it was late to the game – so it made a more subtle appearance by sending J.J. Abrams to “The Late Late Show” as a surprise for Candace.
Timing is everything in communications. Waiting too long can turn a nice gesture into an awkward and overtly self-serving, “me too” moment. Case in point: Hasbro’s gift on GMA felt repetitive and tired. Meanwhile, Kohl’s can’t keep Chewbacca masks on the shelf and has seen record digital engagement with a 101 percent increase thanks to its loyalty video. Brands should be prepared to act quickly, because “Chewbacca Mom” isn’t a one-time phenomenon. If you’re still not convinced that brands should seize opportunities to reward fans, see how Vans turned “Damn Daniel” and a lifetime supply of Vans gifted during “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” into a 30 percent sales increase.
And the next time your brand finds itself in the midst of a “Chewbacca Mom” moment, react swiftly, think strategically, be authentic and don’t forget to design delight.