Reading Fanocracy by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott will change the way you think about being a fan in your own life and cultivating fans for your business. Marketers everywhere should read this book to transform the way they think about supporting customers.
The Full Review
One thing I enjoy about David Meerman Scott’s writing is how he observes from the world around him and then synthesizes its lessons for business and marketing. In his latest book, Fanocracy, that perspective is expanded by that of his daughter, Rieko. In addition to being a physician by training, she appears to be observant and thoughtful—and a skilled writer.
The book looks at fandom from both sides: the experiences of the fans themselves, and the practices of those businesses, institutions, and artists that develop and nurture their fans—fanocracies in the book’s terminology.
The Scott’s define a fanocracy as “an organization or person that honors fans and consciously fosters meaningful connection among them.”
The fan’s perspective
The multi-generational perspective from the father-daughter author team makes the book particularly useful as it explores what it means to be a fan, and its importance in our lives. The book includes examples from the world of medicine, cosplay, fan fiction, live music, professional sports, and much more.
Fandom forges connections, helping us create shared identities with people who would otherwise be strangers or colleagues we know only in passing. It brings us together in times of alienation and division.
In other words, fandom connects and unites us in healthy and productive ways. This book made me realize the importance and joy of being an unabashed fan of something.
The business perspective
In this light, building a “fanocracy” business isn’t just about getting more sales or dominating your competition. Those things may happen, but as a side effect of nurturing fandom.
Creating a fanocracy is about adding value to your product or service through a sense of community, involvement, and identity. The Scotts write:
People are going to be most invested in that which creates a sense of intimacy, warmth, and shared meaning in a world that would otherwise relegate them to a statistic.”
Turning your business into a fanocracy isn’t necessarily easy. Part Two of the book includes nine steps for building a fanocracy, including:
- Getting closer to your customers
- Letting go of control of your creations
- Giving more than you have to
The book includes a wide range of examples from traditional fan domains as well as businesses. A few of my favorites include MeUndies (subscription underwear!) and Grain Surfboards.
The book will get you thinking:
- What are you a fan of?
- How does that experience enrich your personal life?
- How can you encourage these kinds of feelings in your most loyal customers?
Building a fanocracy isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s generous and meaningful. And in a world filled with big data, artificial intelligence, and subscription fatigue, cultivating and nurturing true fans is a great business strategy.