We unlock the emotional power of fandom for brands.

Thought Leadership

Fandom Data Insight: The Ability to Creatively Express Aspects of Identity With Like-minded Community

Download Decoding Fandom. Win today’s fans and create cultural relevance.

In some of our previous fandom data insights, we talked about how one of the characteristics of a strong fandom is the social connection that occurs through a shared passion. Fandom is not a demographic or a psychographic, it’s a latent emotional mindset that emerges when conditions are right. People become fans when they are empowered to discover who they really are and who they might become.

Brands should be thinking about how to maintain and add to the enjoyment their fans’ participation brings, adding fun, creativity and immersion. When we asked fans about the factors that defined their experience of fandom, this was supported by respondents declaring that the ability to creatively express different aspects of their identity within a like-minded community was important to them. Fandom’s ideal environment for growth is not a place where people can simply geek out over shared interests – it’s community, where people can engage in a process of creatively exploring who they are via the things they, and their friends, care about.

When we asked respondents to complete the sentence, “I love being a fan because…” respondents ranked, “I have the freedom to create my own version of the things that inspire me,” and “I can find my place in a like-minded community,” as their top reasons for people who identified their fandom as casual to very passionate. 

What can brands do to help deepen their relationship with their audiences and fans? 

The answer lies in marketing platforms, initiatives, and campaigns that create the conditions for the communities growth. After all, fandom is just a type of community, and creating community is a tried-and-true tool in brand building. Whether you are tapping into an existing fandom or fostering your own, your job is ultimately to help fans engage more deeply with each other through creativity that uses their own language. 

An example of this can be seen in Brine’s brand shift from a male lacrosse consumer to a female one. They turned themselves into a platform for female athletes, sharing their stories of struggle and triumph. By acting as a fan of female athletes, Brine addressed a core fan tension: female lacrosse players work just as hard, if not harder, than their male counterparts, but get far less recognition for their skill. So they created a microsite and social media campaign to collect and share athletes’ stories, allowing players to connect around the campaign platform, “Watch Us”. 

To learn how we are building fandom for our clients, set up a time to talk with someone from our team.