How to build a tribe and attract ‘supercustomers’: Vinomofo co-founder Andre Eikmeier

How to build a tribe and attract ‘supercustomers’: Vinomofo co-founder Andre Eikmeier

Published 14 March 2014 13:00, Updated 14 March 2014 21:27

Andre Eikmeier

I’m not a fan of mission statements, but I’m a big fan of missions.

What’s the difference? Authenticity, usually. One’s the creation of the marketing department, and one is the reason someone gets up in the morning and goes in to battle with a smile on their face.

As human beings, we respond to the focused drive and ideals that a person on a mission possesses. It’s powerful. It’s inspiring to be involved with an organisation on a mission. And if it’s a mission you can relate to, that you respect, that you share, then you might just join the tribe.

You’ll become a supercustomer.

The Apple tribe

I’m a member of the Apple tribe, and it’s not just because I own a MacBook, an iPad and an iPhone 5.

I scoff at anyone I see using a PC or a Samsung. I’m an advocate, an ambassador, and I don’t get a commission, a discount or even a thank you.

Is it about the products? Sure – I enjoy using them, but Samsung makes a better smartphone. I don’t care. I’m not in the Samsung tribe. To me, Samsung just makes a phone.

Hang on – isn’t that the point? Isn’t the whole reason I’m in the Apple tribe because I think they make the best phone?

No, it’s not. It’s because I relate to the brand. I relate to what they stand for – the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, changing the world. I’m inspired by their mission to create beautiful products which do things we never knew we needed until they entered our lives.

When I bought my first computer, I bought an Apple – not because it was a better computer, or a cheaper one, but because buying an Apple made me a rebel, someone who wasn’t content just to follow the masses.

It meant that last year I bought an iPhone 5 even though I accepted it wasn’t the best phone in the market, and it certainly wasn’t the best value.

That’s the power of building a tribe brand. That’s the power of standing for something.

The Qwoff tribe

Before Vinomofo, my business partner Justin and I started an online wine community site called Qwoff. It was pretty cool, you could review wines and recommend wines to your friends.

That’s what we did. That was our product. As it turned out, very few people were geeky enough about wine to actually want to use the site.

One of the reasons we started the company was to get out and discover the world of wine. So we bought a Kombi van and started travelling around the country, filming our wine adventures for a series called Road to Vino. We put the videos on YouTube and on the Qwoff site – more for fun than as a serious business endeavour.

Instantly, that resonated.

We were the Kombi guys. People followed our journey. Producers wanted to meet us. We found ourselves invited into the homes and lives of the people who built Australia’s wine industry, people like Peter and Margaret Lehmann.

We made it our mission to travel around the country, discovering the best wines, meeting the great people who made them, and sharing our adventures with the world.

It resonated because it was authentic, and it touched on a dream that many people had – to escape the rat race and really live.

How we grew our Vinomofo tribe

Our Qwoff tribe followed us on our business journey into Vinomofo and became not merely our first customers, but our supercustomers.

We made a promise to only sell wines that we personally loved, and that promise became our model – a focused range which had been personally curated.

We stood for something. Here we were, jeans and T-shirts and occasional bad language, but we loved good wine. We took away the bow ties and bullshit associated with the traditional wine industry; we made it about enjoyment, not about analytics.

We found that thousands and thousands of Gen X and Gen Y wine lovers felt the same way as us, and they became our Vinomofo tribe.

That tribe built our brand, and they continue to do so now.

Three tips for building your own tribe

1. Have a mission. Not a mission statement. What do YOU want to achieve? It’s got to be something you would say to a friend. People have to be able to relate to it. And share it with people!

2. Stand for something. What’s your passion? Why do you do what you do? What do you love about it? What do you believe in? I mean REALLY believe in, marketing hat off. What do you stand for?

3. Tell your story. Own it. Make it honest. People like to know where you’ve come from and why the business was started. It creates more of a connection. If they believe in you they’ll follow your story.

Andre Eikmeier is the co-founder and CEO of Vinomofo.com.

 

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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