media update’s Jenna Cook takes a look at what the world of fandoms has to offer marketers.

Fandom marketing is shaping the way in which brands engage with their audience. You might be wondering exactly what a fandom entails. Well, put simply, it is a group of people who have a shared passion for a specific cause, message or brand – typically online.

Capturing the attention of consumers can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. And what better way to achieve this than by enlisting the help of a fandom?

Here are three reasons why you should market to fandoms:

1. Fandom marketing helps you determine your target audience

Knowing your target audience is a top priority. Fandoms give you an inside look at the heart and mind of your consumer. You will quickly be able to see what makes the fans tick, what makes them happy and what makes them excited about your brand.

Fans of the The Hunger Games franchise were engrossed when Hunger Games Explorer website was launched. The website acts as an interactive online destination where fans are encouraged to post their own GIFs, tweets, blog posts and memes – all related to the popular franchise.

Users also have the opportunity to rate content – the higher their content is rated, the higher position they achieve on the fan leaderboard. (Because it’s not enough to be a fan, fans want to be the king of their fandom.)

Harnessing the power of fandoms, like The Hunger Games franchise did, is an excellent way to receive ‘free’ advertising. 

In an episode of PBS Frontline, a young Hunger Games Explorer participant explains that “this kind of advertising is fun because it’s just sharing your favorite movie with your friends.”

Never before has it been so simple to reach dedicated consumers. These fans are already willing consumers of your brand. And as long as you are able to communicate with them authentically – give them what they want i.e. more of your brand– they will be happy.

2. If you take care of the fandom, it will take care of your brand

When it comes to caring for a fandom, communicating with the fans is of the utmost importance. They will value your engagement and repay it with positivity. Take the szechaun sauce incident with McDonald’s, for example.

The szechaun sauce incident began when season three of Rick and Morty, an animated series from Adult Swim, was aired in 2017. One of the main characters, Rick, was seen as inconsolable after the discontinuation of the mcnugget condiment – szechaun sauce. His animated reaction spilled over into the Rick and Morty fandom. And soon, fans were just as desperate to get their hands on this sauce.

McDonald’s quickly became aware of this opportunity and re-released the sauce for a limited time. However, this didn’t go exactly as planned because the restaurant couldn’t meet the demand that fans of Rick and Morty had supplied. There was simply not enough szechuan sauce to go around. 

With many consumers leaving disappointed, one thing was clear: McDonald's had seriously underestimated the popularity of the show, turning what could have been an unmissable opportunity to align super fans with a superbrand into a lesson for marketers everywhere.

3. Fandoms are fiercely loyal to their brands

Loyalty is something that your brand cannot buy. It comes from the value that your consumers perceive of your product/service. And when it comes to fandoms, it truly matters how your brand showcases its appreciation for its consumers.

In 2015, franchise director – and diehard fan – of Star Wars, JJ Abrams was set to speak at a Star Wars celebration convention. In a similar fashion to the premiere of the franchise’s latest films, fans lined up over night to hear what the newly appointed director had to say about his take on the next generation of films.

Fans had begun lining up as early as 29 hours prior to the opening of the convention – so as a treat, Abrams bought them all dinner. Hundreds of pizzas were delivered to the 1 500 people waiting in line. This simple, but delicious, act showed dedicated fans that they were appreciated by the Star Wars brand.

These fandoms are driven by one thing – passion. A passion that emanates through everything the fans do. And they want to know that the brand cares as much as they do. This means that your brand should engage with its fans as much as it can – even if it means investing in an in-house pizza delivery service.

Want to stay up to date with the latest news? Subscribe to our newsletter.

On social media, your brand value is determined by your followers. How can you leverage what they see to correctly position your brand? Read our article, Five ways to change your brand perception for the better.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy