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From Texas to London – Fandom is a hot topic


There’s been a frenzy of activity on both sides of the pond, creative antenna going berserk over all that’s new in music, film and interactive technology at SXSW and the marketing glitterati have been in hot debate at Advertising Week Europe 2014 in London. Our research and insight team, Fanatic have been right in the middle of the action - enthusing about their specialist subject, Fans. They’ve come back bursting with news and views on trends, key issues and what the future holds for brands and rights holders, read about three of the hot topics below.

Passion not pestering

Experts from all corners of the globe are agreeing that Fans of Sport & Music are continuing to provide huge opportunities for brands. More and more sectors of the industry are recognising that this unique group do not behave like ordinary consumers and when you connect via their passion points and speak to them through their Fandom, you’re starting to engage with something very special.

At one of this years events, “Direct to Fan: Showing the Love Brings the Love” music industry panellists have been discussing how artists can connect with “Super Fans” through a “direct to Fan” approach and why this works. Because Ear To The Ground only connect brands with Sports & Music we have a wealth of experience on what motivates the powerful Super Fan. No Fan is the same and we understand the differences between these segments, which helps brands create more targeted campaigns to connect with the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Because these Fans are united by a shared love for their passion, they form hyper-connected networks as a means of reinforcing their Fandom. These networks spread messages quicker, easier and more effectively, which offers a huge opportunity for brands. In Austin and London there was hot debate about how you feed these networks with the right content and take advantage of this opportunity.

Content isn’t just a craze

We know that Fans are hungry for content and that feeding their networks with the right content can be effective. Saying the world has changed because of mobile or social media is irrelevant now. It's where u23’s consume content that will change everything. Brand content can't currently compete with "Youtube Talent" or "Creators".  There is a wave of youths, with handheld camera's and iphones creating their own content for millions of subscribers. These are channels, run by individuals, as young as 16, with millions of followers. Brands can't currently match them. But they can find ways of learning from them, partnering and co-collaborating authentically with them. The market is for rapidly made, responsive content put out on a regular basis, which Fans can relate to and feel involved in.

One of the key lessons was being Fan-centric – listen and respond to what they want. YouTube allows creators to be reactive and get content out fast. When speaking about how brands can partner with these creators, the key take out was authenticity. The brand’s role needs to be one that adds to the experience. They need to facilitate the creation of something that adds value for rights holder and Fans. This already forms the basis of how we think and what inspires our creative campaigns.

Big Data continues to provide insight

Another key learning from Adweek was how Big Data is allowing for newer, quicker ways of understanding Fans and how they interact with their passions. Consumers turn into Fans around sport, music or entertainment and are in a heightened state when immersed in what they love, so when spoken to in the right way, they have an unprecedented willingness to give brands valuable data at the same time as putting them front of mind in their purchasing hierarchy. It’s all about playing on the right motivations and behaviours for who you are looking to target. 

It was reassuring to know that Fanatic’s thinking is ahead of the game as hundreds of industry professionals were highlighting our favourite topics as game-changers. We would be delighted to talk to you about how to connect meaningfully with Sport & Music Fans, so give us a call…