Fans of specific interests have existed since time immemorial. In today’s culture, the number and intensity of fans has reached a fever pitch and is morphing into fandom. Many sociologists attribute the rise of fandom to less interpersonal socialization (partly driven by fragmented families and social media), which is creating a need to closely identify with something, be it a TV show or a celebrity. Moreover, the rise of social media provides a soapbox for fans to express their passion and support for something and influence others to join them.
While a fan base was once limited to celebrities, sports, and entertainment, brands and products are starting to see them en masse. Apple and Tesla, for example, have huge fan bases where customers will wait in line for hours to purchase the latest iPhone or volunteer to deliver freshly manufactured Model 3s to new customers. They also never question the pricing of these brand’s products.
Over a third of consumers claim they are a fan of a particular brand or product.Iceology Research Communities, February 2019
Fandom may end up becoming more important than micro-influencers. The two differ in that the latter have a static network of followers, while most fans have an active network. However, fans are greater in number, are more proactive, and their cohesiveness provides a sharply amplified message that comes across more genuine than it does for micro-influencers.
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