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How to Build a Strong Fandom
If there’s one thing that most cult franchises have succeeded in, it’s building a strong fanbase. From diehard fans who purchase every limited edition release, wear merchandise nonstop, and act as a foghorn for the company to preach how good the franchise is; to those who merely never miss an episode, always attend a screening, or get involved with forum discussions. Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Pokemon not only have expansive worlds that fans can get lost in; they have likable and formidable heroes and villains to root for, and the power to have cultivated such strong fanbases. So, how exactly can a fandom be created?
The Product Needs to Attract Attention
Firstly, the product needs to be one that fandom can get behind. Most fanbases are attracted to the almost limitless aspect of the franchise. Star Wars fans engage with both canon and non-canonical content that expands the Star Wars universe. Fans of Game of Thrones pore over the maps of Westeros and invent their own houses and characteristics, expanding the universe themselves. By creating something that attracts the attention of those who want to get into the detail of a franchise, the sell doesn’t have to be as hard. When deciding on something new to get into, many people are likely to choose something that they can lose themselves in. This explains why franchises such as Doctor Who and James Bond – which has its own fan club – are so long-lasting, as fans of each new generation can dip into the back catalogs.
Marketing for Fanbases
The marketing of the product is also crucial for building a strong fan following. Social media has made it easier for creators to speak to those who enjoy what they have created. While there are countless opportunities for fans to speak to one another and build the buzz for the latest release through the amplifying power of online; adding a touch of exclusivity and a hook for those who haven’t yet become fans is also a powerful tool. This can be seen outside of fandoms through tactics such as a welcome bonus on casino site Aspers that has a Game of Thrones slot on it or through the purchasing of a limited-edition Nintendo Switch that has Pikachu on the case or a limited edition of a comic book. The proliferation fans shouting about their love for the franchise on social media can give it a voice online. If influential fans become ambassadors for the franchise, those engaging with it can grow exponentially.
Developing a fanbase comes down to two major aspects – which are actually the backbone of making anything popular. Firstly, the product needs to be one that people want to engage with. Secondly, the push for getting more people to engage needs to be strong. There is a certain type of person who doesn’t just want to watch something. But they want to feel as though they can dive into it; the most successful franchises are the ones that allow their fans to do this.