Today we’re talking about respecting your customers in an authentic way by looking at YouTube sensations, Dude Perfect.
If you’re not familiar with Dude Perfect, you probably don’t have a ten year old boy in your house like I do. In truth I had never heard of them either until the early days at my last job when our intern Matt noticed that the DP merch store had just signed up for a free Privy account.
What started off as a few college dudes at Texas A & M doing trick shots in their backyard a few years ago has turned into a sensation.
They currently have 52.4 million YouTube subscribers, have had multiple seasons of a tv show on Nickelodeon, and last year did a hugely successful tour - taking their trick shots and games into arenas packed with kids and their parents laughing and cheering them on.
So, what separates these particular guys from everyone else on the internet? First, they are incredibly talented and engaging. Second, they are wholesome. I’ve never really cringed watching their videos as a parent, except maybe when they hunt or (very rarely) talk about their religion. And third, and most importantly - they are 100% authentic. And they are authentic by design.
Authentic is a word that gets thrown around a lot in marketing circles. Be who you are and people will respect you. Don’t talk from a brand, talk from a person. Don’t hide your mistakes. All of this is good advice. But it only works if you are conscious of how who you are impacts your customers.
Here are two quick stories that sold me on the DP guys being consciously authentic and how it builds fans for life.
The first happened 2 years ago.
My family was going to Texas for a family event, somewhere my son had never been. In fact, his only frame of reference was that Dude Perfect was from Texas. So he kept asking if maybe we’d run into them, especially because we were going to the State Fair of Texas and they had recently shot a segment there.
As a parent, these are the kinds of questions that can drive you crazy really fast.
“No buddy, I doubt it. Texas is a really big state.”
“They already did the state fair, so I don't know if they would go back.”
“We’re not going to be near where they film, so don’t get your hopes up.”
“They don’t do tours of Dude Perfect headquarters, sorry.”
I mean, there was no way we were going to see these guys so stop asking!!!!
So, the day comes to fly to Texas and we sit down in our seats… and one of the Dude Perfect guys is in the row behind us. What are the friggin' odds?
DP is made up of Tyler, Garret, Cody and the twins, Cory and Coby. And behind us was one of the twins. Dressed just as he did on the show with a white hat backwards and an athleisure outfit.
I turned to my son, and said hey, look over there. And it was like seeing the Beatles. He grinned from ear to ear, but he was also terrified. He didn’t want to say hi and get a high five. He didn’t want an autograph. Nothing.
Actually he spent the rest of the flight trying to figure out which one of the twins it was (Coby) and sheepishly looking over every couple of minutes.
As a rule, meeting celebrities is not always awesome. They can be rude or distracted or disinterested. But I knew he would regret it if he didn’t take this opportunity to meet one of his heroes.
When we got off the plane, my son was still nervous as Coby and his wife walked just steps behind us. Eventually I had the chance to hold the door and as he walked by I said “You guys are great and my son is a huge fan, do you mind if he comes and says hi.”
For all the reasons I just mentioned, I was nervous too.
But the response was amazing. Coby said of course, and walked up to my son to say hi. “Hey buddy, we love meeting our fans. What’s your favorite video?”
And when we didn’t initially get a picture he was more than willing to re-engage with us for a photo.
He talked with us for a couple of minutes and went on his way, making fans for life.
More recently, we watched the Dude Perfect behind the scenes video about their tour from last summer. As we watched, one section really jumped out at me. They talked about engaging with the fans and its importance in a way that most companies and celebrities never truly embrace.
“When fans come up and they want a picture, you never want to give that person a bad experience because they feel like they know us. And from their perspective they do know us because they watched hours of our crazy antics. Honestly, there is a lot of weight that these kids hang on our every word and that’s a big responsibility”
And that’s what being intentionally authentic is about. It’s not putting on a show or hiding behind your work. It’s about fully embracing who you are and the role you play with your fans and customers and treating it with respect. (Go to 26:13)
So, are the two key takeaways for us as marketers?
First, every interaction counts. The people you are dealing with have no context for anything outside of their interactions with you. Whether you are in sales, support, social media, speaking… it doesn’t matter. Your interaction with an individual is the interaction that will shape their perception of you as a person and as a company.
Second, don’t take your customers for granted. Being intentionally authentic means you have to really care about the people you are serving. There is no us and them, just we. How can we work together to help you get what you need.
That’s all for this episode of the Marketing is Everywhere podcast. I have to go film some trick shots now. Actually, that is something I do occasionally with my son on his YouTube channel @NateMMagic!
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