Spamalot [almost] Creates Loyalty Beyond Reason
I went to see Spamalot last night in West London and noticed a pretty big opportunity for the show that I doubt they are capitalizing on. First off, some context:
The show has been running for the last few years and has had some big success. Most shows have been sold out in NYC and London, however the credit crunch has hit this city hard and after going to a few shows this week, there are way more empty seats than I could have imagined (about 70-75% full, that's it).
The cool thing about Spamalot is that, near the end of the show, the cast brings up someone from the audience and actually sings a song about them - thanking them really - for being a part of the show. At the end of the song, one of the cast members snaps a pic with a Polaroid with the person on stage with the entire cast, gives them a small trophy and the audience member goes back to their seat. The song is hilarious and it would have been unbelievably embarrising to be the person who got called up - that being said, it's a hell of a story to tell your friends. Especially with picture proof of you on the stage.
This tactic - no doubt - helps to drive word-of-mouth for the show. It also creates a person who loves your brand. With two shows a day, six days a week, that's 12 people who you've just given an experience too that they will never forgegt in their lives. All they get out of it is a tiny trophy and single picutre.
Why not do something more?
Why not start a webpage / social network with the information and profile of these people who have been called up to stage? Include their quotes about the show telling people how great it was, show their picture on stage, allow them to create their own T-Shirts and custom Spamalot gear to send to their friends (posters, Album covers, whatever) - essentially, let them build of this experience and spread their message to everyone they know not just their close family and friends. Maybe it could be an exclusive Facebook / MySpace / BeBo group or a Twitter feed that highlights that shows person's name...whatever it is, just build off it.
What I really learned from the show? Create brand enthauists by doing something special for one of your customers. Only one person made it on stage, but everyone felt great to watch it and the person up there felt even better.
What can you do for just 1% of your base? Don't try to do something for everyone - it comes off cheap, mass-driven and fake. But what about rewarding the best customers? Or showing your entire base that they could have the chance to do something special too (as long as they stay loyal).
It seems that the best strategies these days create loyalty beyond reason. Few brands to it because they try to appeal to everyone. But those that can create it, tap into the Holy Grail of brand enthusiasts.