Zeno Thinks: What brands can learn from nightclubs in the battle to build loyal fans
I have always had a fascination with the nightlife industry. From the age of 15 I could be found in London clubs, pretty much every weekend, getting my dancefloor fix. So, in 2010 it was only natural that I ventured to Ibiza. A super club mecca steeped in hedonistic history I was mesmerised by it all. So much so, that I’ve returned every year since.
As the 2023 season comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on what brands can learn from nightclubs when it comes to building a community of loyal fans for the long haul. Because let’s face it, whether you’re a cheesemaker or a party starter, every brand’s dream is repeat business.
- The clubber is at the heart of the experience. From Hï Ibiza’s cutting-edge production and a bathroom that has a DJ booth in it, aptly named “the Wild Corner”, to the surreal extravagance of Elrow parties at Ushuaia - the customer is absolutely king (or queen). Too many brands focus on what they want to say, rather than doing something that incentivises people to communicate that message for them. If you want to build a loyal fan base prioritise your audience, relentlessly, every time.
- They create a lifestyle that people want to buy into. This year marks 50 years of Pacha. Built in 1973, it has grown into one of the world’s most recognisable club brands. With no phones to record events, Pacha Ibiza was renowned as an “anything goes” haven of self-expression with a genuine sense of freedom and spiritual escapism. Brands with longevity recognise that people don’t buy into brands, they buy into lifestyles. So, it’s imperative to build a values-based narrative, that forges an emotional connection with audiences to create a community which people want to be a part of.
- They prioritise innovation. If you’ve been to Ibiza it’s clear that budgets vary from club to club. But what doesn’t is the drive to do things even better, every year. Take O Beach in San Antonio. While they may not be rolling out the biggest DJs in the world, the day club’s aerial shows are that bit more astonishing every year. Meanwhile, further inland, Amnesia introduced a new state-of-the-art sound system in its main room just last year. To build and maintain loyal fans and advocates, even classic brands with rich heritage need to grow and evolve in line with their audience, as they too move through life.
The season might be almost over but I’m already pining after the prospect of making more memories in my favourite nightclubs. See you in 2024 Ibiza!