Mongezi Mtati | @Mongezi
Speaker | Writer | Digital Media Strategist

Your Great Following Is An Illusion

Whether a customer pays you or not, they have expectations. Do you know what they expect?

This past Friday I went to a show in Johannesburg, where DJ Premier was playing. In a nutshell Premier, for me, is one of Hip Hop’s superheroes a ninja. An icon. He wields nanchuks that are foundation of Hip Hop globally. The one DJ and producer whose work we listened to growing up and shared with friends.

15 years later when Premier comes to South Africa, we wouldn’t dare miss his show. And we didn’t, as you would expect.

The show was organized by Kenzero, a local highly influential DJ, who also does another show (Party People) that has a huge following. He has a well established brand in the local Hip Hop scene, and his is a name most people are likely to know.

Perceived value

While having dinner with friends, who also wanted to see Premier just as much, we had a conversation about the value of things.

The tickets were worth R180 at the door (about $29 US), which is more than you would pay at an up-market nightclub. But it’s fine – it is Premier after all.

If you pay for something, regardless what the amount is – it creates expectations. I already anticipated being blown away both Kenzero and Premier. They are both respected names in the scene and supposedly lead the pack.

The set played by Kenzero was quite good not great, which was unexpected given his following. We knew all the songs, when we expected to hear a bit of what we haven’t. Perhaps that’s part of what he sells.

Understanding that what you sell is not always what people buy is key. I bought into that event because of the profile I heard of it. The value people place on what they exchange for your product – be it money or attention – is significant to them and you may lose them if those are disconnected.

Meet expectations

What does a potential raving fan expect when they use your service for the first time?

The following you have and the word people spread about you is what the masses have in mind when they interact with you for the first time. For as long you raise the bar above all those expectations, you win.

When you approach new interactions on the basis of arrogance from past successes, you stand to lose more than your following. You may think – “but I’m the exception not the rule”. But I wasn’t because some of the people I was with agreed they didn’t get what they expect.

Are you selling what people expect to receive?

The illusion of a great following

When you are of the impression that your fanbase makes you, you are bound to stuff up.

The wake up call I had this past weekend was how much of a consumer most service providers and sellers perceive their customers as being.  We tend to disregard that people – all of us – want to be treated as individuals. I don’t care that you are servicing a million other clients.

Let’s face it, a huge client base bring with them even more expectations. You have to work more at managing expectations and exceeding your past success. The conversation changes when. . . you no longer provide an experience worth talking about.

The death of the superhero

DJ Premier is one of the all the time Hip Hop music superheroes. He ‘s one of the producers and DJs you wanted to listen to in the 90’s even now, but a lot of talent has risen since then.

I went there expecting him to play a lot of new music, which he didn’t. Without discounting the great music which he played, his 2-hour long set had some things I still question.

There was an artist with him who does not match up to the talent he used to produce in his early days.

After over 12 years of listening to Premier, I was quite disappointed with the presentation at that gig.

It is quite disheartening for me to say – I don’t think I’ll ever view him the same again. The childhood hero has lost me as a fan because of that 2 hour set. That brings me to the last point.

A brand is. . . . . .

. . . . . the collective perceptions people have of you and the dealings they had with your service offering.

Let’s bring that home. For all the years I listened to Premier, shared his music, recommended it to friends and raved about him – I was spreading a marketing message. So was he. That is how and what his brand was to me and the people I spoke to.

Your clients speak and their word speaks volumes to them than any marketing message you send out about yourself. We think the people around us are more credible than the billboard across the road. Even the radio presenter.

These collective messages that surpass your marketing by far. That is what creates a brand.

How are you spreading a positive message?

Photo by: eyesore9 on Flickr

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