Build Brand Love Through Fandom

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Media.Monks

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When people interact with a brand, an emotional bond is created similar to when we build a relationship with another person. It's this emotional connection that gravitates passionate fans around the brand, celebrity or franchise—and brands who are looking to build loyalty can learn a thing or two from the culture of fandoms.

In their inaugural issue of Social Bites, a series of quick explorations into a monthly theme, the Social Innovation Lab puts a spotlight on fan communities to help brands better understand their motivations and attitudes. You can find the issue of Social bites here, along with a short summary of key ideas below.

What do we mean when we talk about fandom?

Built around shared passions, fandoms are communities of people who are more than just consumers of the stuff they enjoy—they're producers and creatives in their own right (think fan art, fan fiction, cosplay or even commentary channels). Fandom is an example of participatory culture, and subcultures and communities often feel a sense of fellowship through their shared interests and attitudes.

Consumer, fans and stans

There are three levels of fandom: the average consumer, the fan and the stan. Consumers are indiscriminate shoppers whose relationship with a brand is based on convenience—they show little to no loyalty. Fans are co-creators and promoters who are capable of amplifying a brand by word-of-mouth. A stan—a playful portmanteau of “stalker” and “fan”—are excessive in their enthusiasm and carry strong loyalty.

The Northstar of fandom

Properly tapping into a fandom effectively means making a match between your brand and your potential fans. Every fan has what we call an “inner mantra,” or a vision of who they are or long to be. A person's inner mantra is linked to their sense of identity—and in seeking new fans, brands should carefully consider how their implicit and explicit values connect and align to the attitudes and ambitions of potential fans.

Fandom tactics for brands

How to best connect with consumers, fans and stans depends on the actions of your audience, which you'll want to match in your own messaging. Our new issue of Social Bites explores some of the tactics available for brands to meet every level of fandom, along with examples of brands who have already captivated communities too much success.

Looking for more social media insights? Tune into our weekly Social Innovation Lab podcast to hear from the brightest minds in social and learn how to create winning social media campaigns. Check out the latest episodes of the Social Innovation Lab podcast.

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