Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Fan Army

Posted by emilyfalicaa on February 22, 2017

Eleanor Braird Stribling offers a system where markets and those who run it value the fan community and utilize it to their advantage. She proposes “engaging” with fans in a few steps to learn the best way to keep the fans. She explains that, “Many of the activities within the broad spectrum of fan behaviors that contribute economic value fit into four categories: 1. Watching, listening, or attending. 2.Purchasing primary and secondary products. 3. Endorsing. 4. Sharing and recommending”. While any fandom needs all of these to rise to success, when producers really harness these assets it can shoot them to the top. This is something Taylor Swift has been able to do and this is what has pushed her to the place she is now. Swift has long been known for her relationships with her fans. It seems like a sweet genuine gesture but by having a close relationship she has been able to create an army of marketing individuals (no hate on Taylor, she is my favorite).

Obviously, her fans are great at watching, listening, and attending. But she didn’t set records for selling out shows just because they are awesome, but because there was the chance of meeting her in the after concert parties prompting people to buy even more tickets to multiple shows. She was able to harness this economic power because she took the time to get to the know the fans and valued what they wanted; big shows with chances to meet her.

Swift values the fandom particularly well in the means of purchasing products. Most big time singers have the usual fan merch of CDs and tshirts, to make more money Swift beyond this. She followed fan accounts and directly asked them what do you want to buy. She was able to create completely new forms of merchandise because she valued the community’s opinion and in exchange, sold a lot of primary and secondary product.

Step three and four can be condensed into one category for Swift. Fans naturally endorse products when they share and recommend. And Swift encourages her fans to do this on an incredible level. She recognized early on that people bought her CDs because a friend said it was good, so for her past two albums she rewarded fans for expanding the community by inviting “good” fans to her house, sending them gifts, and making comments on Instagram. Valuing fans individually encouraged them to do these economic steps for them in exchange for the chance of being noticed.

Swift demonstrates that valuing fans, their opinion, community, and ideas is critical to economic success. Stribling’s essay is 100% correct because without using fans your business model will not move forward fast enough to be competitive.


2 Responses to “Fan Army”

  1. I like what you said because fans are so important really. Without fans celebrities wouldn’t be famous at all. I think this is a good thing to keep in mind and celebs need to keep it in mind as well.

  2. toripatterson504 said

    personally I dont love taylor Swift but I understand why other people do. She relates to her fans on levels that other celebrities dont even bother attempting which attracts more fans for taylor. I understand and agree with your perspective on the importance of fans.

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