Shortly this evening, I will be leaving to drive to Oakland over Donner Pass on I-80. A snowstorm is expected and I couldn’t be more excited! My Subaru handles brilliantly in the snow — gliding like butter while gripping like glue — so here’s hoping winter’s starting and we get a lot of it over the next 6-7 months.
Meet Betty Sue Subaru. Yes, Really. We rescued her from a rental agency (I know!) about a year ago and we’ve traveled roughly 15,000 miles together since. On the plus side, I only flew once this year to see family, so my greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions from travel have been vastly reduced! My emissions are further reduced cause Betty Sue is a proud Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV), just one of the many things I love about my Subaru.
Have I mentioned that I love Betty Sue? Before her, I had Subers, a 2000 Subaru Forester that I purchased in 1999. I put 130,000+ miles on Subers before selling her to my friend Jeff, who expects to hang onto her well into the 200,000 mile range, easily! I am a member of the Subaru High Mileage Club and I LOVE SUBARU (so much I have to yell!) Facebook groups and I am always happy to tell anyone who will listen how much I love my Subaru. For a while, Subaru used the tagline, Love. It’s What Makes Subaru a Subaru. I loved that tagline, but I guess the folks in Subaru’s marketing department did not even though Subaru has a Share the Love event through which it has donated almost $15 million to charities thus far with another $5 million expected this year! What’s not to love about Subaru? The only thing I can fathom is the fact that they don’t offer a 4WD hybrid vehicle, though I hear rumors that one is in the works.
So why am I telling you how much I love my Subaru? Because Subaru is a great example of one of those brands that has evangelists, or as I like to call them (us), brandvangelists. A brandvangelist is someone who is so fond of a product, service, or company that they do the company’s marketing for them by encouraging their friends, and/or their own fans, to make similar purchasing decisions. Like what I am doing here by sharing my love for Subaru with you. I also feel this way about Better World Auto Club, and coincidentally, Better World Books, as well as Patagonia, about which I wrote here, and here, and Keen, about which I wrote here. Some companies like Patagonia and Keen have brand Ambassadors — “field testers for the company’s products and storytellers for the tribe,” as Patagonia puts it, while Keen and Subaru also have fan portals where fans can publicly interact with the brand right on the brand’s website. These brands are great case studies for enjoyably and profitably growing a fan base.
It seems the more interaction brands offer their fans, the more ownership fans feel over the brands and the more they evangelize them. If you provide quality offerings and engage with your stakeholders on a meaningful level, you too can have brandvangelists.