Building a Wicked Relationship

If you want to keep your customers/supporters for the long term, then effective marketing relies on building a relationship. And for today’s article I am going to draw on a personal story to illustrate why this relationship building is so effective . . . especially when it comes to Idina Menzel!


Idina Menzel is one of Broadway’s most well-known actresses having originated the role of Maureen in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked. She has been featured in several movies such as Enchanted and the upcoming Disney film Frozen and of course appeared as a special guest on popular cult television show Glee. But none of this would be worth an ounce if she didn’t develop a relationship with her fans.

This year heralded the first time that Idina Menzel had ever visited Australia to perform. And from the look of the crowd there were a lot of diehard Idina Menzel fans (including myself!).

These diehard Idina Menzel fans, or ‘Fanzels’ for short, didn’t just occur overnight because she appeared in Rent or Wicked. These ‘Fanzels’ came about because she has a reputation for being a lovely person and gives time after shows to sign autographs.

In order to build such a strong relationship, the giving has to go both ways. Idina gives to her fans by coming to Australia and being a nice person at the stage door afterwards and the fans in return spend $150 and give up a night to come and see her perform.

Now, the concept of relationship is more powerful than the simple equation above. There are different levels which display themselves in merchandise choices.

Had you been at the back of the Hamer Hall balcony, dragged along by friends, with only a slight idea of who Idina Menzel was, then the relationship would not be very strong. And as a result, you probably wouldn’t visit the gift shop or buy a program on your way in to the theatre.

If you had good seats, were a ‘Fanzel’ at heart, and had to try and control yourself while Idina Menzel walked past your chair, then the relationship was much stronger. And you definitely stopped by the gift shop and bought a program (and maybe even the $50 limited edition signed poster as well?).

Now for the personal story . . .

I was lucky enough to get pulled up to sing a verse of ‘Take Me or Leave Me’ with Idina and as a result my relationship with the Idina Menzel brand is a strong as superglue. And unfortunately for my bank balance, this manifested itself in a number of merchandise purchases including the DVD of her ‘Barefoot at the Symphony’ concert and several tracks from her various albums.

So, as my bank balance would attest, the best way to make a significant dint in your savings and encourage your fans to be incredibly loyal to your brand is to build a really strong relationship. Whether it is through bring people on stage with you or taking the time to give back to the relationship by simply appearing at the stage door and signing audience members’ programs, it all increases loyalty!