The Design Business Show 209: Creating Superfans Through Customer Experience with Brittany Hodak

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | January 16, 2023
Check out episode 209 of The Design Business Show with Brittany Hodak to learn about creating superfans for your brand.

Brittany Hodak is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and customer experience speaker who has delivered keynotes across the globe to organizations, including American Express and the United Nations. She has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and entertainers, including Walmart, Disney, Katy Perry, and Dolly Parton.

She founded and scaled an entertainment startup to eight figures before exiting, and she is the former Chief Experience Officer of Her debut book, Creating Superfans, will be in stores on January 10, 2023.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Brittany’s First Company, ZinePak

  • Brittany grew up watching her father work in customer service, but she had always wanted to work in the entertainment industry
  • After making her dreams come true, Brittany realized there was a huge overlap between customer experience and the entertainment industry
  • Brittany decided to go back to school, where she got her master’s degree in consumer behavior in marketing – she was curious if the same principles that would lead someone to create fans as an entertainer were the same for brands
  • Brittany shares how she started working in the entertainment industry at a radio station when she was 16 years old and got the chance to interview rockstars
  • After graduating, Brittany moved to New York based on a coin flip and started working for Sony Music
  • Brittany had always had this idea since college of a fan package for album releases and making CDs something people want to purchase by making them a collectible
  • Everyone dismissed Brittany’s idea, so she decided to go out on her own and create her product using the connections she had made in the industry and her connection at Walmart, who had agreed to buy her product  
  • How Brittany launched ZinePak (short for magazine pack) and started taking the skills she developed and started creating these immersive fan packages for album releases – within the first year and a half, they had worked with stars like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber
  • Brittany started reaching out to companies to buy ad space in her packages in exchange for a branded display in the store featuring their brand
  • Brittany ran her agency for about 8 years and one day got a call from a producer who asked if they would like to be on the show Shark Tank – to which they agreed to
  • The story of how Brittany and her co-founder went on the show Shark Tank and got offers from a couple of the Sharks, which they agreed to but ended up not doing the deal in real life
  • Because of the visibility of the show, Brittany got a lot of invitations to speak outside of retail with very fan-driven industries that weren’t related to retail or musicians going on tour
  • Brittany continued to run her agency while doing speaking gigs, but it became hard to juggle, so at the end of 2019, she sold the majority of her equity in the business she had founded, which allowed her to do more speaking, researching, and writing

Creating Superfans 

  • Brittany’s book Creating Superfans is a customer experience book that talks about the principles that anyone can do to connect more deeply with their customers to create superfans
  • The power of creating superfans, what a superfan is, why they are important to brands, and how they create positive outcomes for your business  
  • Brittany shares how influential her dad was in creating her business
  • Your brand is more than the products; it’s based on the experiences people have with your employees
  • Brittany shares a story from her book of an artist who understood that the brand wasn’t just him; it was everyone his fans came in contact with, whether it was the merch booth employee, the security guard, or the guitar tech that contributed to the overall experience.
  • When starting her business, Brittany had a unique take on being told no – she thought about those no’s as relationship building because although they had said no to her, those people had no idea who she was before, and now they do
  • One thing to keep in mind is that your customer experience will never be better than your employee experience – if you don’t treat your employees well, you can’t expect them to treat customers well
  • Brittany explains the SUPER Model framework she uses and teaches in her book and says that her book is to help managers, business leaders, and employees have a shared understanding and framework of customer experience 
  • You can purchase Brittany’s book anywhere – it’s also offered as an eBook and audiobook
  • The design process Brittany went through when creating her book and how she knew she wanted to use color in it, which many people do not do
  • Brittany walks us through the key questions you should ask yourself to design your brand
  • One goal of Brittany’s in 2023 is to no longer do consulting work so she can focus on speaking
  • With consulting, Brittany had a hard time saying no – if something outside the scope of their agreement came up and her client asked her about it, she would take care of it because she didn’t set clear boundaries
  • Now Brittany offers Intentional Experience Design Days, where somebody can hire her for a day to help architect the intentional experience they want their customers to feel throughout the whole customer journey
  • Connect with Brittany through her website, and make sure to check out her book


Links mentioned:

Creating Superfans by Brittany Hodak

Brittany Hodak Website

Connect with Brittany on Instagram

Connect with Brittany on Twitter

Connect with Brittany on LinkedIn


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