What the Kardashians can teach us about Connecting

The Kardashians?  Why all the fuss?  They’re just famous for being famous.

They’re worth multi-billions of dollars, they’ve got hundreds of millions of followers and, more importantly, they have the ability to influence what’s in, what’s out, and what’s about to be the next big thing.

Okay, big deal – you’re probably thinking:

What does that have to do with my Jewish organization?

Everything.  Because if yours is like about 98% of the Jewish organizations out there, you’re finding it more challenging every day to come up with effective ways to attract them, retain them and build meaningful relationships with them… Right?

It pays for any organization that wants to increase attendance, recruit new members/campers/students/congregants or human beings in general, to take a cue from the Kardashians.  Because they’ve figured out how to cash in on something that money can’t buy – the ability to influence others.

Let’s face it people want to be around other people they admire and respect.  They want to do what they do, and go where they go –  For better or worse, it’s just human nature.  So don’t fight it…

Embrace it.

There are a lot of ways to leverage the power of the Influencers in your organization or community.

Here’s an example of one of the ways we did it.

Several years ago, we worked with a JCC that wanted to do a better job of attracting Jewish young professionals (YPs).  They just couldn’t seem to break through to that hard to reach demographic.

Unless they were still on their parents’ membership, there wasn’t a twenty- or thirty-something to be found within miles of the place.  Who could blame them?  A quick scan of the lobby was a study in extremes.

Between the bevy of young moms surrounded by strollers, and the clusters of walker-clad seniors, it would be hard for most millennials to see how they fit in that space.  So the Be Bold Creative team did what we always do. We focused grouped members of the target audience we wanted to reach.

Here’s what we discovered

It won’t come as a shock that this population said health and fitness was a top priority. But they didn’t have a ton of disposable income and weren’t willing to pay the higher membership fees to join the J. They didn’t feel there was anything in it for them.  And furthermore, they said that while hanging out with other Jewish YPs was fine, it’s wasn’t enough of a priority to warrant giving up a much cushier situation at their current club.

How were we going to get YPs who weren’t coming, to start coming? 

We started a very exclusive YP Connectors program. Now before you say, “So what? Lots of organizations have ‘ambassador’ type programs,” read on.

We identified twenty of the top YP Influencers in the Jewish community, invited them to dinner (a really, really good dinner!) filled JCC gym bags with a shirt, jacket, towel, water bottle and other goodies and gave them each a free one-year fitness club membership, and carte blanche to collaborate with the Fitness and Rec Directors so they could design their own workout classes, pick-up basketball games, pool parties and more.

But even then, we knew it still wasn’t going to be enough… we had to sweeten the pot to insure their iron-clad buy-in, so they’d bother to come themselves, and most importantly, bring their friends.

We knew we had to tap into the true essence of what makes an Influencer, influential… …Social Capital!

Let’s be honest.  They knew they were already popular amongst their peers.  They knew we knew it too.  That’s probably because we outright told them.  We said, “we’ve invited you to be a YP Connector because you’re an Influencer.”

But we knew that for this to work, we’d have to come up with something that would elevate their standing even more.

Here’s what we did

We gave each of them 50 business cards with their names on the front and a free day pass, compliments of said YP Connector, on the back to distribute to their friends.  We told them that they could also extend an exclusive YP membership discount to their friends that was less per month than the most popular fitness clubs in town.

But the JCC pushed back big time.  “That’s going to cost us too much money!”

But we pushed back even bigger time.

We said, you pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to advertise for members. Giving 20 Influencers a free, one-year membership is a drop in that bucket and amounts to very little out of pocket for the J in the short term, but, it will result in ten times that amount in ongoing membership revenue in the long term.

They saw the light and gave us the green light!

The Results

Did it work? Let’s do the math and find out…  Twenty YP Influencers, plus a dozen new YP inspired classes, sports events, workout sessions and parties, times tons of free passes that were given out to friends, equaled many hundreds of YPs coming into the building, to socialize, exercise, and bring even more friends, ultimately turning the J into the YP hot spot it was born to be!

And, the best part was, in less than a year, more than 400 YPs ended up becoming paid members of the J, even the initial 20 Influencers who had received free memberships the first year.

So yes!  It worked.

And it can work for you too, with whomever it is that you’re interested in attracting.  While every demographic is different, if you stick to these steps you’re bound to be successful:

5 Steps to getting the most out of Influencers

  1. Identify 5-25 Influencers who are either part of your current constituency or who are members of the target audience you’d like to reach.
  2. Realize their value and invest in whatever it will take to bring them aboard.  Don’t forget, if you don’t already have them, that investment is likely going to be a lot more… but it’s worth it.
  3. Be clear about what you want them to do, then ask them what you need to do to get them to do it (i.e. programs, events, classes that will appeal to them and those they influence…)
  4. Do what they ask you to do and make sure you find a way to let people know that it was informed by the Influencers in question. Because if you get Influencer buy in… if they feel ownership… if there’s something in it for them… they’ll naturally get others to jump on the bandwagon.
  5. Follow up with them and the people they bring in. Ask those people what they want and continue to do a great job of delivering what they want and keep checking back in.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to connecting like a Kardashian, here’s the big bottom (get it?) line:

Influencers are more valuable than rubies.  It’s worth the investment of resources to reap the rewards their influence insures.  

Got it? Good!  But even if you get it, if you’d still like help getting them, or anyone else in your target audience, remember…

At Be Bold Creative, we’ve got you covered.  After all, we were tapping into the star power of Influencers way before the first Kardashian took a selfie, Tweeted a Hashtag or posted a pouty pic on Instagram.  We have a proven track record of not only being able to engage said Influencers, but being able to get their buy-in, and even better, get them to get the people they influence to buy in!

As Jewish engagement experts, we can help you in your efforts to engage more people through a wide variety of techniques sure to improve your results and set you up for great success! Let’s talk.