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The Rise and Impact of the Superfan

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Chemistry's Sydney Morgan on how fans can be a useful ally for brands today

The Rise and Impact of the Superfan

It’s a warm fall evening and the night every 15 to 25-year-old girl has been waiting for since its announcement in 2019. Harry Styles live in Pittsburgh. I know what you’re probably thinking: “Oh my god, thousands of screaming girls…my worst nightmare.” And while you’ve got the thousands of screaming girls part correct, these voices shouldn’t be seen as a nightmare. Rather, they are the strong voices that drive the popularity and success of their favorite artists. 

Yve Blake, an award-winning playwright who wrote the musical Fangirls, said in a TedTalk, “fangirls shrieks are like a superpower.” She’s right: the shrieks and excitement from these fans are an honest and fearless expression of emotion, celebration, and joy. They love without apology or fear.   

While music fandoms, specifically fangirls, are most talked about (likely due to perceptions rooted in sexism) any artist, sports team, or brand can have superfans. In fact, 90% of adults consider themselves fans and 34% of them consider themselves superfans. 

Marketers used to have to make assumptions, or educated guesses, about what would engage their fans. The era of social media, however, has given that power back to the fans who can drive the narrative and popularity of their favorite artist, sports team, company, or brand. Today’s marketers have to harness the power of the superfan. 

Here are three things to know about super fans that can help: 

These fans are craving connection.

This world seems to be getting harder each day. Young people especially are looking for community and belonging. They can find that connection in many places, so why not make one of those places your brand?  Superfans are ultimately looking for a way to connect to others with the same interests and passion; brands can help cultivate a community that does just that. 

Superfans are in it for the long haul.

Many fans will move on from a brand when something new comes along. 41% of women and 53% of men aged 18-34 agree that they move on to what’s next when something gets too popular. Superfans, on the other hand, take pride in knowing that they were there from the beginning. They are often protective of the brand and feel a sense of ownership. Make sure you recognize those who were there from the start, whether that’s with special perks for loyal members or exclusive products or services.

It's a two-way street.

The majority of superfans feel especially passionate about their favorite brands, but they’re also yearning for brands to understand them. Social listening campaigns are a great way to get inside the head of your consumers, to know what they’re really thinking and saying about your brand. Listen to their ideas and feedback because they’re the ones you want to hear from. And don’t forget to show your love back. Superfans put so much energy and time into their fandoms, let them know that the excitement for your brand does not go unnoticed by actually using the feedback they provide. 

The biggest takeaway for marketers, take the time to get to know these fans—they can make or break you. 

I’ll leave you with a quote from the king of fandoms, Mr. Styles himself, “Teenage-girl fans — they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.”

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Chemistry, Wed, 24 Aug 2022 08:17:13 GMT