May 18, 2020


SMW employees


In a world of digital chaos, cultivating fandom is a method by which strong brands expand their reach through pure love. There is a neurological support network that people identify with, and fandom is at the core of its connectivity.

While #SMWONE, Fanocracy& # 39; S David Meerman Scott and Talkwalker& # 39; S Todd Grossman discussed our collective hunger for relationships and the fandom that nurtures them. Increasingly tech tired and offered tired, people long for human connection. Nothing brings people closer together than mutual enjoyment.

David is an author best known for The New Rules of Marketing and PR, a multi-year seller for over a decade, as well as other bestsellers including Fanocracy, Real-Time Marketing & PR and Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.

Todd is CEO Americas at Talkwalker, a conversation company. Talkwalker delivers social insights that help brands build growth. Their groundbreaking AI technology was developed in-house to offer the best and most flexible video, image, text and language analysis for any media type.

Here are the key findings and insights:

  • Fandom drives purchase decisions
  • From a neurological point of view, people feel safest in a group of like-minded people
  • Building a fandom is the practice of creating shared emotions

Fandom is common emotions

Fandom is essentially the shared emotional experience, and "everyone has the opportunity to build a fan base," said Meerman Scott Take Haggerty Insurance, for example – they insure vintage cars, with the owners being a pretty passionate group. Haggerty has made its customer base fans by creating a proprietary social network and through its YouTube channel, which currently has more than 500,000 subscribers. "Haggerty Insurance has one of the biggest fandoms" because "they created a human experience out of the ordinary."

Fandom drives buying decisions and when people find their tribe, they create a positive connection between the emotional experience of the tribe and the company that makes these connections.

Let the fans take over

If you offer your customers an experience through video, marketing, or IRL efforts, it's worth letting go. "Once you publish it there, you no longer own it," says David. Some brands use a healing method that forces strict subscription conditions. Think of Adobe's default language, which reminds us that "Photoshop is not a verb, it's a product name." Other brands prefer a transformative method. This means that fans can do what they want with your product by creating videos and memes and adopting them as their own. Think of the Roomba videos of the product owner's pets driving around the house.

Give more than you have to

One way to promote the fandom is to give generously and without expectations. Creating a roadblock (e.g. requiring registration before downloading assets) creates a controversial environment. When things are released, it promotes a feeling of reciprocity that can be very rewarding. Look no further than the Hubspot method, which allows you to give away all teaching materials while building up a huge fan base.

Take the grateful dead approach to recording their live shows: when other bands banned it, they welcomed it. In return, they created a fandom that is still strong decades later.

Passion is contagious and creates community

Brands that literally and figuratively exist as stickers on a laptop have persistence that is determined by this community. It is not impossible to promote this real human connection virtually, only a few changes are required. David's hack for personal experiences from afar? Tighten the crop in your video. When you see someone's face up close, it creates the feeling of actually being close by, and it mimics the emotional experience of being together in real life.

From the point of view of content or messaging, it is more important than ever to re-humanize your language when you reach your audience. Meerman Scott has been intensely concerned with what he calls the Gobbledygook of corporate PR language. In a study of every press release that was distributed over a 12-month period, he identified innovative, unique, and top-notch words as the most frequently repeated words. "If you have to announce that you are one of those things, are you really?" he asked.

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