Helping small business owners develop extraordinary businesses that really work for their customers, their employees, themselves and their families

For fanatical customers, stand for something

Would you like your customers to be fanatically devoted to you and your business? Would you like to build an “iron cage” around them, so that you will almost always be the preferred provider of your product or service?

This is not an easy path to follow. Basically it means building a community devoted to one or more emotionally-charged common causes.

In order to attract an audience, you must be willing to accept repelling or offending other people.

We can see this right now with the abortion issue, illegal immigration, and the availability of semi-automatic weapons. People feel very strongly about these issues and aren’t open to hearing arguments on the other side. If you declare yourself on one side, those in agreement will see you as part of their community. Those who disagree probably won’t want to associate with you, and will prefer associating with someone who agrees with them.

Understanding this issues includes identifying the heroes, villains, and common enemies for a community. What/who do they love and what/who do they hate?

The news media that follows this approach is Fox News Channel. Fox News viewers tend to be fanatically devoted and won’t watch other news outlets. Other news programming viewers can’t stand watching Fox News Channel and might choose to watch network channel news or CNN.

Most people avoid discussing these volatile issues. They don’t want to “upset the applecart.” Since they are projecting themselves as “milquetoast” or neutral, they get a neutral response. They might not be outcasts, but they aren’t part of the community of “us’ns” either.

A couple of books to read on this subject are The True Believer by Eric Hoffer and The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren.

For example, Rick Warren encourages church leaders to teach their parishioners to prioritize their church community over their own families. In essence, he is promoting isolating the church members within the church community.

Widely-known examples of extreme community-building gone out of control are the genocide of Nazi Germany and the mass suicide of Jim Jones’s People’s Temple. Please be ethical with the causes that you choose and the actions that you promote.

Constructive causes that have inspired communities in the past include child labor laws, the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage.

There are more tame causes that you can choose. You can share your interests and build a community around them. For example, there are dog-owners that adore dogs, and might even prefer them to people. You might be passionate about different hobbies, like playing tennis, or following a favorite football, basketball, or baseball team. Some people love classic cars or motorcycles. Others love collecting dolls and outfits and accessories for dolls. How about performing or enjoying a genre of music? There is Comic Con for comic book fans. The list is endless.

Your market research should include profiling your customers to know their political tendencies and their interests. Knowing this will help you communicate with them more effectively in language that will appeal to their hearts, and can provide clues for building them into a community with common beliefs and interests.

What common interests can you tap into to build your customers into a community? What community-building steps will you take? Would you like to brainstorm this subject further? To make an appointment for a preliminary discussion, contact me at

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Helping small business owners develop extraordinary businesses that really work for their customers, their employees, themselves and their families