One of the top marketing goals for any business is acquiring new customers, but this is not always the best goal or the best use of resources. Brand engagement sometimes is. Marketing to a group that doesn’t know you and has no loyalty towards your brand, can be a costly and time consuming exercise.

What’s the alternative? Think like a rock star and turn your current customers into loyal fans, by giving them unique brand experiences that will make them feel special. If you do this effectively, your customers will sell your brand for you.

An example from the world of rock

Several years ago, rap-metal veterans Rage against the Machine launched a campaign to stop X-Factor winner Joe McElderry dominating the Christmas singles chart, by releasing their anti-corporate anthem, Killing in the Name.


They appealed to their fans on Facebook to buy the single, resulting in sales of 500,000 copies. This trounced the X-Factor single by 50,000 copies, and, delighted by the victory, Rage repaid supporters by inviting them to a free concert in the UK. 40,000 people flocked to the venue – and the event could have been far bigger, as word spread quickly and more than 180,000 people applied for tickets.

It was a great way to reward loyal fans, while extending their reach to a huge potential fan-base.

How can you turn your customers into fans?

One of the most effective ways of acquiring new customers is by tapping into your existing customer base and turning their satisfaction into powerful word-of-mouth marketing.

In the real world, many companies do this via Brand Ambassador Programmes, which enable them to cultivate mutually beneficial, ongoing relationships with customers.

In return for access to exclusive products, events and or brand experiences, your ambassadors will sing the praises of your brand to their contacts, helping to organically grow your customer base, while providing you with invaluable customer feedback about your brand.

Here is a classic example from Bourbon Whisky brand, Maker’s Mark. 

Maker’s Mark

The Maker’s Mark program is a brilliant example of fan advocacy done right. Its personalized, exclusive rewards make Ambassadors feel special and the programme now boasts over 100,000 brand advocates.


Maker’s Mark Ambassadors are tasked with sharing company tweets, ‘liking’ the brand on Facebook and inviting friends to join the loyalty program. In return, they get their name engraved on a barrel of the product, and can buy a bottle from their own stock. They are also sent regular gifts and invitations to exclusive events.

On the practical side, they are armed with tools to help them move product, such as business cards, which help them spread the word to bars and restaurants that haven’t quite gotten the Maker’s Mark religion.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on