A journey of a million "Likes" begins with a single click. And for Browning fans everywhere the journey has been a good one, with lots of clicks. 999,999 clicks after that first one in 2008. This week Browning crossed into new territory inhabited mostly by celebrities and world-wide brands you find in grocery stores.
That first click might have been from the mother of our Facebook web guy. But the rest are made up of the full scope of Browning enthusiasts: hunters, shooters, outdoorsmen and women, avid gun collectors, weekend plinkers . . . the spectrum covers the casual to the super avid. They all have one thing in common: a true love of the Browning brand and a desire to use guns and gear that are - in the words of the Browning slogan -- "The Best There Is."
Browning is the first of a group of similar firearms and outdoor-related companies to break the 1-million barrier. When asked how Browning did it, Browning President and CEO, Travis hall, explained: "Our whole company got behind our page sharing it with friends and family. This provided the initial growth in 2008. Our strategy was and remains simple: to provide good service to our fans and give them a place to gather and share, and to get answers from us. But we really owe the greatest part of our success to the legacy of John Moses Browning himself. He truly was the greatest gun designer the world has ever known and we continue to honor that legacy with the guns and gear we make. All 1-million of us - including me - are proud to be a part of that legacy."
Browning's Facebook fans offer a diverse cross section of the hunting and shooting business. Nearly 33.5% are females. But they are not casual visitors. A close look at fan posts shows women visitors to be extremely avid and knowledgeable. About 50% of all Browning "Likes" are under 25 years old. When the page was first launched, the Salt Lake City / Ogden area had the most fans for several months, mostly due to the Browning headquarters being in Morgan, Utah. Today, Houston, Texas has the most fans with nearly 4,000. Followed closely by Jacksonville, Florida with 3,062 and San Antonio, Texas with 2,901. For nearly two years, from 2009 to 2011, the Atlanta, Georgia area had the highest concentration of "Likes". Today they are fourth with 2,708. Although Browning is a world-wide brand, approximately 950,000 fans are English speaking as their first language, with Spanish second at 13,632.
According to Hall, a great deal of the Browning brand enthusiasm revolves around the Browning Buckmark logo itself. The recognizable deer head logo is a way to associate with the brand as well a way to show a personal commitment to quality. "Browning has a running "Show Us Your Buckmark" contest where people submit photos of creative ways they have incorporated the logo into their lives. It is really amazing. Tens of thousands of Buckmark decals show up on truck windows and thousands of fans have actually been tattooed with the Buckmark to show how they feel about the brand." According to Hall, the logo is also on boats, treestands, ATVs, stained glass windows, concrete driveways, deer feeders, airplanes, crop circles - just about everywhere. And the Browning Facebook page is where many choose to show off their own personal display of the Buckmark.
When asked if he could isolate a core key strategy for Browning's Facebook success, Hall said "Respect. We respect our Facebook fans. We treat them as if they are part of the family. That's easy, because to us, they are."
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