Trending Consumer Insights: Macklemore and the 12th Man


Trending Consumer Insights: Macklemore and the 12th Man

Great consumer trends have innovated in Seattle, Washington USA: jet travel, personal computers, gourmet coffee and online retail to name a few. This week, in the race for the Super Bowl and Grammy award winners, innovation from Seattle in the consumer space is at work again. Both the Seattle Seahawks and music megastar Macklemore exemplify the growing power of consumers. They both have a sea of emotionally charged fans avidly following them. They both have disrupted conventional order in their industries based on this customer adulation. And they both have harnessed consumer engagement to accelerate their winning formula. An astute leader of a customer-focused company is well served to study, learn and apply some Seahawk and Macklemore tips and traits highlighted below:

The 12th man.

That is the term for the raving fans’ number one job…. disrupt the hearing, attention and nerves of the competing team in support of the Hawks. At home, it has led to a world record for the loudest stadium in football. On the road, there are numerous tales and tweets of Seattle fans going to extraordinary lengths to support their team. And lest one forget that the 12th man is everywhere in Seattle, you only need to travel through any neighborhood and see flags and banners hanging with a Big Bold “12”. Indeed as the dusk fades into dark, the Seattle skyline glows an iridescent blue and green (Seahawk team colors). The December Christmas lights came down; the January 12th man decorations went up! Raving fans; once you’ve got them firmly on your side, your company will be carried from strength to strength seemingly effortlessly.

No Middleman for Macklemore.

  • December 2009, Macklemore (Musician/Band) is “born” on Facebook
  • December 2010, Macklemore plays New Years eve to 30 people in a small bar
  • June 2011, Macklemore’s first video, The Town, a million hits
  • October 2012, Macklemore’s album, “The Heist” tops the US iTunes list
  • Through 2013, Macklemore broadens global fan base through world tour
  • January 2014, Macklemore lands 4 wins of 7 Grammy nominations

This group went from virtual creation to top of the charts in less than 5 years. For any start up venture, that’s lightening speed. But what makes this success extremely interesting in an industry where winning is driven through agents and record labels, Macklemore garnered all this success with neither. He went direct by building a fan base with appreciation and information:

'Ahhhhhh!...I'm so grateful for you all. You're the reason why ... Because of the fans. The people that come out to shows, tell their friends and keep it alive. Thank you.' (Macklemore Facebook)

In a world where social media creates a platform for the word to get out and a brand to be built for virtually no direct cost, unlimited data to be stored and analysed for pennies, and content to be created and distributed via a tablet, an individual David can take on a company Goliath and radically change industries, disrupt business models and go direct to information-starved, distrusting consumers who are looking for a fresh new approach.

Time will tell whether the Seahawks win the Super Bowl and Macklemore transcends to sustainable stardom. It’s the disruptive rise that is worth noting for an established company. The consumer has taken charge en masse. Armed with tablets and smartphones that provide the world’s data at your fingertips and enough apps that crunch complexity into easily understandable and actionable information, today’s consumer is supercharged. They can find alternatives to your company and fuel industry disruptors through social media in lightening speed. When the power of the 12th man disrupts one industry, they quickly adapt their successful tactics to find another. As a successful company in the midst of this wave of change, what are some tips to try?

  • Diversify your top talent to avoid the damaging blind side
  • Objectively evaluate rather than subjectively deny
  • Go social with honest and humble messaging

If you’re interested in hearing and seeing the 12th Man and Macklemore in action, as always, a video speaks volumes…. like this one posted on YouTube, “Can’t Hold Seattle Seahawks/12th Man” featuring Seahawks footage with Macklemore soundtrack, “Can’t Hold Us.”