“It’s better to have 100 people who love you than finding a million who just sort of like you. Build your business one person at a time. Just focus on 100 people. “

Paul Graham, VC investor’s advice to the AirBnB founder.


Brand communities are coveted as one of the most precious assets a company can build. Plenty of smart companies and organizations have put together their own online communities made up of engaged, passionate customers connecting with experts and employees.

Some are pulling this off brilliantly; others, not so much. Some platforms just fail dramatically. Why?

Both Airbnb and Strava (an app that tracks cyclists activity) have found new and novel ways to connect with their customers by focussing on the emotional layer of these people.

Our colleagues Simon, Danielle and Armin in their HBR article, say that the key is to leverage your fans’ love for your product or service. It starts with identifying a group of users, the hundred lovers, who are passionate about your brand. They call it “The 100 Lovers Strategy.”

The key elements of that strategy are:

  • Your 100 lovers must feel that they are contributing to the creation of a community.
  • The lovers should be able to actively shape the community through feedback loops, which generate key insights about their true emotional needs. Because the community is small, beta testing features are easier and cheaper.
  • In addition, lovers tend to generate high-quality content, which garners momentum and starts a virtuous cycle, attracting more and more users who want to be involved.
  • The lovers will spread the word through their online and offline social channels, creating buzz and spreading the love.

Focusing only on the transactional layer of your company’s offering can limit its chances of success and attracting a passionate, enduring customer base. In our experience, the addition of an emotional layer can make all the difference.

Have you found your 100 lovers?

Get in touch and we can help you