New research has revealed Australia’s fan industry is worth $4.3 billion, with 28 per cent of Australians considering themselves fans of something, representing an opportunity for brands to engage with new audiences to unlock growth.
The independent study conducted by the human and cultural strategy team of FiftyFive5 and Nine’s marketing solutions division, Powered, spoke to 1,400 people across 35 different fandoms in Australia to discover what they do, when they do it, why they do it, and how the marketing industry can effectively tap into it to make brands grow.
Released at Powered’s Big Ideas Store, the research revealed Australian fans each spend on average $909 per year on their particular fandom, with the fan industry worth $4.3 billion.
The research revealed that at the heart of each fandom lies a core value, with fans connecting with that value on an emotional level, rather than the specific subject matter of the fandom.
While the research acknowledged that few brands are successful in creating their own fandoms, it did suggest a brand can be a fan itself and connect with valuable customers through shared fandoms.
To do so, a brand needs to exhibit the three core ingredients of fandom: participation, investment and dedication, while also proving a value alignment. As well as that, brands must learn and abide by the rules of fandom.
“There is a real opportunity to tap into this largely untapped $4.3 billion industry, but brands have to be prepared to put in the effort, just like the fans they are trying to reach,” said Toby Boon, Powered’s Director of Strategy, Insights and Effectiveness.
“Ten per cent of fans are getting tattoos of their fandom, seven per cent are naming their children after it. These are the lengths fans go to in order to prove their fandom.”
Brands have the opportunity to align with either mainstream or challenger fandoms. Just like mainstream brands, mainstream fandoms uphold the status quo and support and promote the norms of the category or the world. Challenger brands, like challenger fans, subvert and try to change the rules and norms of the category or the world in order to become more accepted.
While challenger fandoms are less popular and socially accepted they make up a sizeable cohort of the Australian fan base, with one in three classed as challenger fans.
“For brands, there lies a real opportunity in taking a fandom from challenger to mainstream based on the fandom being able to borrow the mainstream equity of the brand,” said Boon.
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