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Ear to the Ground has just set up a new strategic planning and insight department called ‘FANATIC’.  

It is driven by the desire to understand sport and music fans patterns of behaviour better and help our clients tailor more targeted campaigns to maximize effectiveness and return. It will be an invaluable resource that we can use to road test concepts, evaluate projects and provide better understanding of target audiences.      

‘FANATIC’ acts as an overarching resource to help our sport and music teams identify the similarities in the emotional drivers that connect sport and music fans but also the factors that differentiate them.  The team will gather insights on loyalty, identity and how campaigns might impact on customer journey and purchase decisions.   

The team’s first assignment was to work with Liverpool University on a project entitled ‘Fandom: Motivations, Characteristics and Special Features of Sport and Music Fans’.  It discussed the underlying drivers of ‘fan’ psychology and looked at the implications for brands that wanted to be in the space. The resulting white paper covered everything from authenticity to escapism and the compelling concept of ‘Liminality’ as a transcendental force that can help brands communicate to communities’.    

The next project was the curation of the ‘FANATIC LIVE’ Series. This was launched as a way to discuss the dynamics of fan behaviour with influential guest speakers including leading academics, cultural commentators and industry experts. The series will provide us with invaluable insight into the psyche of the modern fan, will help us learn from and exchange ideas with experts outside our discipline. 

The team has also set up a partnership with the National Football Museum that will see an exchange of ideas around the world’s number one sport. As well as supporting the ‘Fan Zone’ at the museum, they have also given us access to their huge audience with the ability to conduct market research through their channels and provide consumer data to support our creative planning.    

The creation of the FANATIC strategic planning and insight department represents a major step forward for the agency. Culturally, Ear to the Ground has always listened to fans and knows how to move them. FANATIC represents a new era of taking that understanding and turning it into a resource that will benefit our clients and get the best return from their campaigns around sport and music.