Twitch’s Gemma Battenbough: How Can Your Brand Participate In The New Era Of Fandom?

Twitch’s Gemma Battenbough: How Can Your Brand Participate In The New Era Of Fandom?
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



brands can start building lifelong relationships with engaged customers and willing advocates through fandom, explains Gemma Battenbough, international brand partnership studio lead, Twitch.

Every single one of us has an interest or a hobby we feel especially passionate about. Whether it’s golf or gaming, sneakers or snowboarding, we all have something we turn to for relaxation, escapism, or even a way to further establish our identities. Our passions – our fandoms – are not only a way for us to unwind at the end of the day, they are an enriching and essential part of our lives.

Participating in our fandoms help us learn new skills, connect with like-minded people, and form invaluable communities. With more content and more ways for fans to connect, fandoms and the communities that surround them have entered a new era with fewer barriers. Fans are encouraged to follow all their passions and engage in ways that fit into their lives. Today, fans can enjoy all the benefits of their passions and share these rewards with the world around them however they see fit.

The modern fan’s inclusive mindset opens the door for brands to be part of a fandom. With the right approach, an in-depth understanding of their audience, and a desire to be part of the community, brands can start building lifelong relationships with engaged customers and willing advocates.

A Fan For Every Brand

Fandoms are as varied as they are numerous, and the communities that surround them are each more vibrant than the next. Outside of sports and music, many fandoms were once relegated to the sidelines. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case.

Fans of even the most niche topics or IP can find dedicated spaces to connect with others who share their passions, both off and online. If a fan cannot find the community they seek, they have all the tools needed to establish and grow communities of their own. Moreover, a small, passionate community can reach the front page of mainstream culture in the blink of an eye.

As new fan communities spring about overnight, fandom is fast becoming an unavoidable part of a brand’s long-term goals. If a brand wants to reach an audience where they spend much of their time and energy, start with their fandoms.

If you’re not sure where to begin engaging with fans, have a look at the results from our latest research, Anatomy of Hype: Engaging fans in a new era of fandom, conducted with cultural insights and brand strategy consultancy Crowd DNA. Spanning 12 countries, the research highlights popular areas of fandom such as sci-fi and fantasy, sports, and gaming. It also gives a behind-the-curtain look at how fans incorporate their fandoms into their daily lives, how they perceive brands looking to adopt their passions, and what can be done to elevate the fan experience.

The 3-3-1 Rule

3 things to remember when engaging with fans

1) Demonstrate understanding.

Not all fandoms are the same. Brands need to go in prepared if they want to be received positively. This means finding out how fans interact and communicate with each other. Are there any specific slang words they use? Do they frequently make reference to certain events or activities? You don’t have to be an expert, but just showing a little effort to understand the nuances of the fandom can go a long way.

2) Show your passion.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that fans are passionate about what they love. They also value authenticity and can tell if a brand is as passionate as they are or faking it for a quick buck. For those that continue their support, the good news is that 62 per cent feel positively towards brands that have been involved with their fandoms for extended periods of time.

3) Enhance the experience.

Don’t just be a spectator; be an active participant that value-adds to the fandom. Engage with the community and find new ways to help them experience and share their passion.

3 levels of brand involvement

1) Engage casually.

The brand speaks the same language and is a source of entertainment. It experiments with different forms of media, channels, and services to communicate with fans and keep them engaged. Organic reach is achieved through collaboration with related content.

A good example is….a brand using its social media channels to support and recognise fans, such as sharing fan art or celebrating an achievement in the fandom.

2) Engage actively.

The brand creates thoughtful, relevant, and unique moments and offers exclusive opportunities to members of the community. It also serves as the bridge between fan and icon by sponsoring events and organising meet-ups. Unsurprisingly, over half of fans say they are more likely to consider a brand that sponsors content related to their fandom.

A good example is….a brand organising or sponsoring an exclusive event such as a premier, convention, or even competition for members of the fandom.

3) Engage creatively.

The brand actively uncovers new ways to contribute to the fandom and fuel fans’ imaginations. They create original content, produce fan merchandise, and even provide resources to help fans create their own content.

A good example is….a brand empowering fans to create their own fandom-based content such as online films or one-of-a-kind products.

1 great place to start

As a leading community-based live-streaming service, Twitch is in a unique position to help brands reach the all-important young adult market. In our survey, fans say they use digital channels and services to follow celebrities and content creators (83 per cent), socialise with other fans (77 per cent), and discover and purchase products (64 per cent).

Diving deeper, it was also revealed that different channels play different roles in fans’ lives. For example, short-form videos are mainly used to learn about the fandom. Live-streaming videos, however, are for entertainment, learning, and connecting with influencers, experts, and other members of the community. Basically, everything a brand would want.

With everyone being a fan of something, it makes sense for companies to engage people in spaces where they are most passionate. Fans are accepting – even appreciative – of brands that are actively and creatively working to make their communities better. And, perhaps in the process, these brands might even build up a fan base of their own.




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