Passion Brands: Turning Customers into Evangelists

Jul 18, 2017

By AMA Staff

How can a company turn customers into evangelists for the brand? It must fight “friction” in ways that improve customers’ lives, says Jeff Rosenblum, founding partner of digital marketing agency Questus and co-author of Friction: Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption (powerHouse Books, 2017).

Rosenblum told Edgewise, AMA’s podcast series, that companies need to remove the friction that “gets in the way of what [customers] want to accomplish in life.” Friction stops people from being who they want to be and doing what they want to do. It thwarts their dreams and everyday goals. Macro friction occurs at the industry level, while micro friction occurs at the customer relationship level.

A small group of companies eliminate both types of friction, said Rosenblum, and thereby position themselves to become passion brands.

“When brands fight friction—when they solve people’s problems—they don’t just create customers. They create an army of evangelists, and these evangelists carry the message forward better than any mechanism that corporations have had for the last century,” he said. “These evangelists ultimately help create passion brands, and passion brands absolutely dominate the competition.”

Fighting friction, building passion

According to Rosenblum, working to remove friction offers benefits such as the following:

Data can be leveraged in a powerful way. Many companies use data to make small improvements to their marketing and advertising. While these results are important, said Rosenblum, data can be used for a more powerful purpose: to create content in experiences that improve people’s lives.

“When brands do that, from an evolution standpoint this is what people want. They want their lives to be improved,” he said. “It’s what drives forward the human experience. It’s what drives forward capitalism.”

Once you’ve optimized experiences to improve people’s lives, said Rosenblum, “the data and algorithms can then be used to optimize advertising to drive people into those experiences.”

Friction brings focus. When the customer experience involves a lot of touch points, fighting friction gives a purpose to brand-building efforts. “You have to take people across this journey with all these touch points and remove friction. Because when you remove friction, you’re not just being effective, you’re being efficient,” said Rosenblum.