That’s the view held by the organiser of South Africa’s first virtual conference focused on fan-building, Fans, HaveYouHeard’s head of Culture and editor of Snacks and @thisisin__, Brett Rogers.
Rogers contends that successful businesses are built on the same basic principles – grow a solid customer base within a well-defined consumer segment that want or need what you’re selling, and serve them well.
But, once you’ve got that right, he said, you’ve got to separate yourself from the other smart entrepreneurs in your category that have also worked it out, and get people to choose you and stick with you for the long term. That’s where brand comes in.
“So, what separates the mightiest brands from the rest?” he asked. “It’s their ability to build a community of loyal advocates. People who connect with not only what they make or do, but what they stand for. The biggest brands today don’t have customers, they have fans. And, as one of our speakers, Ben Milhench, says ‘Fans forgive; customers don’t’.”
Rogers added that the influencer culture and society’s acceptance of it has driven the rise of fandom as a key brand component.
“Two decades ago, maybe only a decade ago, if someone you were passionate about – say a football team or a musician – accepted a brand as a sponsor, the overwhelming response was they had ‘sold out’.
“That reaction is no longer the norm. People have come to recognise and respect that the brands who get behind their interests and fuel their passions, also need to make money; that musician or that football team included. And they’re willing to invite them into their lives and give them the opportunity to become part of their communities, as long as they’re there to add genuine value.”
@Thisisin__’s Fans webinar takes place on 3 November and will feature industry, brand and community leaders offering unique perspectives on the secrets to building fandom with the intention of equipping progressive marketers and communicators with fresh perspectives and insights that can inform their strategic approach to future-proofing and growing their own brands.
In a quick-fire 2-hour format, the webinar will feature nine local and international speakers including Lauren Dallas from Future Females, Ryan McFadyen from HaveYouHeard, Bill Milhench from Treble UK, Angelique Kuiper from Resonance International, Mbali Ndhlovu, Martín Dueñas from LaLiga Tech, Ninel Lara Musson from Vth Season and Paul Machin from RedmenTV.
Among others, topics include ‘Brands Need Purpose’, ‘Turning Fans into A Community’, ‘Creating Impactful Brand/Talent Partnerships’, and ‘Generating ROI from technology through personalised fan experiences’.
Taking place on 3 November, @Thisisin __ Fans conference tickets are R100, available on Quicket.
There are a limited numbers of free tickets for Bizcom Fans. To gain access to these tickets, click this link: https://www.quicket.co.za/events/191962-thisisin-fan-conference/#/ for the conference ticket page, click "Tickets" and enter the promo code BizComFans, which will give you the 100% discount.