Nurturing relationships with the different kinds of supporters of your brand – Episode 116

Every brand or business has different types of people who support it in their own special way. And all of them matter!

In this episode I’ve spoken about:

  • The five categories of supporters
  • How you can recognise them
  • Ways to connect with them
  • The sixth, most powerful kind of supporter
  • Why these connections are important
  • How you can nurture these relationships

Listen to the episode on the audio player below 👇🏽 (or on any podcast app that you like). If you prefer reading instead, then scroll down. Enjoy! 🙂

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Nurturing relationships with the different kinds of supporters of your brand

(gently edited transcript for a good reading experience)

Between Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, TikTok and all the short form content that we consume, apparently our attention spans are becoming like, eight seconds long! Isn’t that scary? Start consuming more long form content. Meaningful stuff that will uplift you, as well as give you a lot of food for thought, so that you can step away from the content, and then contemplate on it for a while.

I have the perfect place for you to do this! My free newsletter The Feel Good Tribe. I send out emails maybe once or twice a month, go here and sign up. On that signup page, you’ll see what you can expect on the newsletter. I look forward to seeing you on The Feel Good Tribe.

Now, on to this week’s episode.

Rolvin and Judith were familiar to me when I was running Carrots

Carrots was my vegan restaurant. We shut it down during the pandemic, but before that we ran for several years. And we created beautiful memories while running this conscious business.

Anyway, back to R and J, not both of them lived in Bangalore. So they’d visit us whenever they were in town. That was not very often, but even so I was very familiar with them because they were ardent supporters online.

Anything we’d post on our Carrots Restaurant Instagram page, they’d be the first to comment, to tag each other, call each other to the post, DM us with words of encouragement. They followed every story, every post with such diligence and love and support.

That made them very, very close to my heart

I knew, regardless of how much engagement certain posts would have or not, Rolvin and Judith would be there, commenting and supporting us from a distance.

So recently, after all these years, I shared an old memory from my Carrots days (from 2017) to my Instagram stories. It was just something I remembered randomly and I posted it. And Rolvin immediately DM’d me as a reply to that story saying, “Oh I remember this period. Shasvathi had just left Carrots internship, and gone back to Mumbai to start Cowvathi (her vegan cheese brand that she too closed during the pandemic). Such good times.”

He responded to the memory almost as if he was right there with us, every single day, going through it. And really he was, because he was following our stories online and talking to us. He’d interact with us all the time.

It made me so happy, just filled up my heart

So I replied to him saying, “I love how you and Judith followed our journey online and remember all these times, so many years later.” I mean, that was from 2017, now it’s 2023. So it’s so many years and he still remembered it, so it moved me.

And to this he replied, “Oh yes, revolutionary times. Learning curves for all of us. Carrots wasn’t just a place but a feeling for us. We have so many pics and memories all attached to the days we visited and all. In fact Judith and my first date in our relationship (in Bangalore) was at Carrots only.”

Screenshot of the instagram conversation that inspired this episode about nurturing business brand relationships

They’re married now. But it’s so sweet to have read that. This important memory they associated with our business was really something.

Having this conversation with Rolvin made me remember yet again, how many different kinds of supporters any business can have.

Often when you’re running a conscious business, a small one and there’s something more to it…you know, there’s something meaningful you’re doing apart from running the business itself…

Every kind of support means a lot, and it makes an impact

And in the long run, that is your foundation. That’s what gets things snowballing and really helps you take off.

So I decided on today’s podcast episode, I had to talk about the different kinds of supporters that all brands have, and how all of them matter. And not just how they matter, but how you, as a conscious business owner or a brand owner…I don’t mean just “business” in the traditional definition of the term. Say if you’re a content creator, that’s a brand you’re building. It’s not necessarily a business, it could or could not be a business, but it’s a brand you’re building, your personal brand. So even there…

You have different kinds of supporters, and it’s important to remember that all of them matter

When I was running my business all those years ago, I had to learn by trial and error. By experience I had to learn that, yes, there are different kinds of people who support you and everyone is not the same.

People help in their own ways depending on your relationship with them, depending on their personalities, depending on how you get along. Everyone supports in their own way, and all these good intentions matter.

Back then if someone had told me, “You know what, focus your energy on this. This is how you need to nurture these relationships.” It would’ve helped me so much!

A decade ago, it would have made a world of difference to me

So I’m hoping that for all the new businesses, the younger brands that are coming up now, who are working towards a larger, bigger cause, something bigger than themselves, I hope that today’s episode gives you some kind of clarity. And makes you remember to appreciate each and every kind of support of your business or your brand. And nurture those relationships with them in a very healthy and beautiful way.

Years later, if you ever have to close your brand or shut down your business or move on to something else, these memories, these relationships that you created, those are what will matter most. Six years later, I have Rolvin messaging me about a business that I closed three years ago. So there we go!

These relationships, they just keep on rewarding you again and again and again over time. And they make you realise that yeah, whatever you did, whenever you did it, it meant something, and it made a difference.

So here goes. Your brand has different kinds of supporters and all of them matter.

1. The Distant Family

They might not even be in the same town as you, so they may not be able to visit your business or order from you often enough. For whatever reasons they might not be the ones who are all the time paying you, to get your product or service or whatever. But they are distant family.

They closely follow your journey online – whether it’s your website, blog, YouTube channel, social media, wherever. And regularly drop love and words of encouragement on your social media or as DMs.

When you’re down, these people make you feel like, “you know what, this is worth it. Somebody who isn’t even here, who isn’t even near me, who may not even be able to visit my business, or take advantage of what I offer, is still supporting me from far away, is still appreciating what we do from far away. And that means the world.” It gives you a boost of energy and encouragement just when you need it.

2. Same Boat Friends

They’re the nice ones from your own industry. Not just the industry but the niche in your industry.

For example, in my case, I ran a vegan restaurant, so it was other vegan food business owners. Café owners, restaurant owners, home businesses, whatever…other vegan food business owners.

You both are working towards the same cause. They may not be your customer per se, but definitely a big part of your support system. People you can always count on, because they know exactly what you’re going through. Just someone to listen to you, to brainstorm with you, to help you out.

Someone to whom you can say:

  • “Hey, I’m looking for someone to hire, can you help me out?”
  • “I saw that you got featured in this article. Could you connect me with that media outlet?”
  • “Oh no, I’m having this issue right now in my team, what do I do?”
  • Or as simple as, “My oven’s broken down and I have this large order coming up. Can I send my customers to you? Or could we come and use your oven and make the stuff for them?”

Just people that you can count on to support you and be there for you simply because they’re going through the same thing.

3. The Regulars

Regular customers who buy from you often because they love what you have to offer. Whatever needs they have, you’re meeting it perfectly well. If they have any pain points or challenges, your product or service or your content, whatever you offer, it’s helping them overcome all these.

They’re the ones who either visit you most often, or order from your most often, hire you most often in whatever capacity that you’re working in. They are your regular customers.

And the relationship you have is, they buy from you, you appreciate it. It’s a nice, simple, clean relationship to have. You know, nothing more nothing less.

4. Super Fans

For them, it’s not just about what you sell, what you offer, but everything that you represent. You check so many of their boxes and they just love everything that you do. They’re like, “Oh my god, you brought this out? Okay! I’ll tell the whole world about it.”

They are your best marketers because they love what you have to offer, and they have the sense of ownership. You know, they feel like, “yes, I love what this brand is doing. And I have to promote it, market it, and tell others about it.” You don’t even have to ask.

Tiny Super Mario to represent a super fan of your brand or business
Photo by Boukaih on Unsplash

If you need a review, they’ll be the first to leave it. They’re the first to post a story on Instagram as soon as they get a product of yours, or buy something.

They may not even be your regulars. They may or may not even be able to buy from you all the time, but they’re surely the ones who’ll tell everybody about it and spread the word like wildfire, across your own movement, outside of your movement, their friends, their families, groups they’re on.

They love you so much that they can’t stop themselves doing this, you never even have to ask. These are your super fans.

5. Ideal Clients

Ideal clients are your business soul mates. You’re each other’s soul mates, to be more precise. You give them exactly what they need. They know your worth, value you, and they pay you happily for it. And your working relationship is magic!

You respect each other’s boundaries, polite to each other, friendly with each other. You enjoy working with each other a lot. It’s just a beautiful relationship.

They’re ideal clients, so you know if this is something they need, that is a product you need to come out with because you are the right person to provide them with what they require.

These are the five different categories of supporters I can think of right now

All of them may be different from each other, but also there’ll be some overlaps here and there. But it helps to clearly categorise them like this so that you know how you can appreciate them and nurture this relationship.

But the most important supporters within your ecosystem? They’re the people from the inside…

6. Your Team

If your team is happy, if your team is content, if they feel like they’re appreciated, and they can grow here, and if they believe in the cause, if you take care of them, nobody else is able to take care of you nearly as much as your team can, because they feel a sense of ownership to the organisation.

Then not only do their jobs well… which is great, right? Competence and interest, yes, that’s all required. But they’ll also spread the word, they’ll be the clear marketers of your product and service.

For example, when I ran my restaurant, my serving staff, the front end team, I didn’t even have to monitor them because they’d be the ones talking to the customers, recommending the dishes. They do it with so much joy that it was clear, it was very, very clear to the guests that, “yeah, you know, these people love their own products so much, so I have to try them.”

They build relationships with all your other supporters, and they help you nurture these relationships.

Once you understand all these different categories of supporters, you’ll know how to nurture each relationship better

The distant family:

Even though they can’t really buy from you, or have constant access to your product or service, they’re always supportive of you. Make sure to respond to each and every one of them. Make sure to chat with them and connect with them. Because it’s good for you and it’s good for them.

Your brand obviously means a lot to them, and they care about what you do. So having a connection and a relationship with them, it’s of course going to make them happy. And that’s a good way to return the love that they’re sharing with you.

Don’t have any other expectations out of them. Appreciate them for providing you that support from that distance.

The same boat friends:

They’re your colleagues, they’re your peers. So it’s really simple, you be there for them too. Make sure they realise that they can count on you also. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship.

Sometimes you may be able to help. You can even order from them, from each other, all of that, yes. But apart from that, just letting them know that there’s someone there for them, you know, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to the vents without judging, someone to hold space for them, that itself is a very big thing.

So make sure to connect and nurture those relationships with your same boat friends. You know you’re going through the same thing, you can really be there for each other.

The regulars:

Of course you know they love buying from you. Reward them, pamper them, spoil them, show them that it means a lot to you that they’re regularly paying you money for your product or your service. Give them extra goodies. In whatever way you can, show them that their loyalty, their regular support means a lot to you

The super fans:

They’re already crazy about you. They’re telling the whole world about you. Make sure you notice these people and appreciate them.

Sometimes they’re the quiet ones, but notice how people are coming to you, ordering from you, buying from you from various places, because this person, your super fan, told them. Make note of these, and then reward them, show them your appreciation, give them shoutouts.

Let them know that you’re their super fan too because of everything that they do for you.

The ideal clients:

These you just don’t want to lose. Theirs are are the relationships that you want to hone, and grow, and make it even more beautiful than it is.

Listen to them. They’re the people who whose feedback is the most valuable to you. You’re ideal for each other. So if they’re saying, “I need this”, listen to it. Try to make it happen, because they’re surely going to appreciate you for it. They’re surely going to be ordering whatever it is that you’re offering that they’ve been asking for.

So follow them, watch them, listen to them, talk to them. In fact, if you have a new product, new service, new launch coming up, let them be your beta testers. You send them some samples if it’s a physical product. Or if it’s something online, ask them to experience your course or workshop, give them a little peek into it. Ask them questions, request them to fill out forms just to understand their needs.

And really, if you’re on the right track, these ideal clients are the people who’ll let you know that, “yes, you are on the right track. Keep doing what you’re doing.” Or, “you know, this could be a little better for me. It’ll suit me better if you change this, tweak that, make this particular modification.” All of it, your ideal clients will tell you.

For this you need to have a very personal relationship with them. Get to know them. Make friendships with them, because you’re both going to have a good friendship. I mean, regardless of the business side of things, as people you’re both going to have really a great relationship. So nurture these personal relationships and friendships with them.

Your team:

Do everything, everything for them! Show them that you care about their growth. Give them all an equal opportunity to speak, to learn, to grow. Let them feel a sense of belonging.

Make sure you have regular team meetings, as well as one-on-ones. Understand their requests and needs. Also ask for their opinions on certain important decisions. All of it.

Let your team feel that sense of ownership, then nothing like it because you can have so much more peace of mind when that happens! You’re not just one owner anymore, carrying the burden of your business. You’re sharing it with the team. And when there’s joy to be had, you have people to share that with equally, who feel just as joyful as you do.

Legendary Carrots Restaurant Team. Indian people (one short woman and eleven young men) in dark blue polo shirts (uniform) standing in a park with their arms around each other's shoulders.
Legendary Carrots Restaurant Team

I hope all of these different categories of supporters and the way to nurture your relationships with them…

resonates with you, gives you at least some new ways of thinking, some new ideas, fresh perspectives.

If you have anything to share about the different kinds of supporters that you’ve had as you’ve run your business, or as a content creator, different categories that you can think of, I’d love to hear it!

Respond to me on Instagram or email. I’d love to hear about your beautiful, meaningful relationships with all the people who’ve supported you, and continue to support you on your business journey.

All right, that’s it for today. Take care.

I use Otter for all my transcriptions, and it’s awesome! Try it out.

Susmitha Veganosaurus

Shorth haired Indian lady, beaming a wide smile. Flowers in the background. Vegan business coach and chef Susmitha Veganosaurus

“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.

If my content resonates with you, join my free newsletter where I share Life and Business Tips, Vegan Hacks, Holistic Guidance, and more.

Vegan cuisine and holistic business building are my two biggest passions. If you’re looking for guidance with vegan cooking, or want to grow your conscious business with joy and fulfilment explore ways we can work togetherhere.”