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Do you give your loyalists badges, the opportunity to show off?

Over the past few months, I’ve contributed to many more organizations than I normally do because I follow Seth Godin’s obligation of the weird. We must pay for the things we want, lest they disappear.

What I’ve noticed, however, is that some organizations are far better at providing badges, proof of tribe membership, than others:

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For example, I made contributions recently to the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign. Both organizations provided nice membership cards and vinyl stickers appropriate for either a car or a laptop. These are badges. These are public statements I could choose to display, to show which tribes I belong to. These are free advertising for their representative causes; in some ways, better than free because I paid for the privilege of advertising. What business wouldn’t love customers to pay for their advertising?

What you don’t see in this photo are five other organizations I contributed to. They’re just as important, but they sent no badges in their welcome letters. They provided no means for a donating member to show their belonging. As a result, they don’t benefit from my publicly displaying their causes.

What Badges Do You Provide?

Out of your customers, how many are fiercely loyal to you? If the answer is none, you have a much bigger marketing problem.

If you’ve even a handful of fiercely loyal customers, how many badge opportunities do you provide them, and how often? Consider some of the badges I’ve made over the years:

  • Power banks
  • USB hubs
  • Flashlights
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Items like these are useful in and of themselves, but they also provide badge opportunities. Every time someone pulls out one of my branded power banks, they’re showing off their affinity.

Badges Aren’t Just Shirts and Stickers

Virtually any consumer item can be transformed into a badge as long as it has an etch able or printable surface. Look around on sites like Alibaba for inspiration; everything from evening ball gowns to industrial street lights is available and can be branded and badged. Think far outside the box but on-brand: what consumer good might reinforce our value proposition that our audience would love just as much as they love us?

Whatever you choose, be certain your customers can display it. Give them the materials to show off their affinity, their tribe membership, and we’ll be rewarded with advertising in places we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.


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