Dave Grohl Doesn't Like A Thirsty Fan, And You Shouldn't Either
August 28, 2012
As you may have already seen, the tale of rock's good guy got taller last week when – in the middle of a set Dave Grohl went out of his way to fill a fan's empty beer cup.
This was just the latest cool move in a career of awesomeness that is Dave Grohl.
Part of the reason fans love Grohl so much goes beyond just enjoying his music. It's the sense of surprise and discovery that Grohl offers his fans – one at a time.
Whether it's during a Foo Fighters show, his care for other rockers, or his attitude towards fans – Grohl has built a selfless brand – one that Foo Fighters partisans have pride connecting to. They don't feel "in the way" for being a fan.
If you think about it, the elements that draw people to Dave Grohl are similar to the reasons they love radio and its personalities. The same elements of discovery and surprise draw 93% of Americans to radio every week. –Source: Arbitron "Radio Delivers" Spring 2012 report.
So if the product is good and the listenership is there – and if you're serious about growing brand appeal – perhaps it's time to consider radio's approach towards serving fans and one that's maybe more effective.
Radio tends to rely on superficially touching fans in bulk – whether it's an opportunity to win something or even in the social space. But the real win is in creating unexpected moments for fans – one at time.
It's not that this "traditional mass cume mentality" is necessarily bad - it's just that the core philosophical tenets of brand building and fan strengthening have changed.
Today is more about carrying the belief that every person counts and giving fans those "Holy crap, is this really happening?" moments.
Dave Grohl gets it – and here's why:
Grohl is genuine. His approach to connecting with fans positively is felt and displayed – even when you're not looking. While this story is a few years old, this is how Grohl sees his fans. When he recognized a fan with cerebral palsy from a prior Foo Fighters show in the crowd at a Queens of the Stone Age show, he invited her to attend a video shoot the next day. He didn't try to hide from her because he "already met her."
Grohl is thankful. Gratitude (like his letter to fans before the Foo Fighters won five Grammy awards earlier this year) deepens the connection, while reinforcing and validating why we love the brand in the first place.
Grohl still relates to his fans. In spite of his superstar success, he never forgets what it's like to be a fan – even when they break the rules to try and get closer to him at a show.
Grohl thinks "one fan at a time." He doesn't worry about the fans who will whine about how he didn't "fill up their beer cup." It's not about the number of fans he touches – it's his spontaneous coolness that builds on his brand as the nicest guy in rock.
Grohl keeps the fans involved. One of the most recent examples was when he and The Foo Fighters put together a "fan's garage tour" that took them to eight different fans' garages to perform songs from "Wasting Light" which was recorded in Grohl's garage.
This is the approach for a brand to win lasting authority, goodwill and just pure coolness - but it requires a new kind of thinking, one that needs to be trained.
We've been working behind the scenes here at Jacobs Media on putting together "brand advocate programs" for stations. It is evident that growing a social listener base is good way for radio to go. But it only works if the station is a "social brand" – one that is willing to offer acknowledgement, unique experiences, and great moments of unexpectedness.
And that's not always easy to do - especially with traditional thinking.
The key is not letting a common mindset or the frenetic energy of each day distract you from creating these moments where you could be "filling up the beer cup" – one fan at a time.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
Please enjoy MERGE archives here.