Tapping into the Passion | Leveraging Fan Loyalty into Brand Affinity

Blog / 09.07.2022

Passion and fandom are two concepts that often go hand-in-hand. A passion is something that people are extremely enthusiastic about, while fandom refers to a group of people who share that same enthusiasm. When it comes to marketing, tapping into the fervor and enthusiasm of a collective group of people is an excellent way to accelerate the growth of your brand and connect with consumers.

People who are passionate about something are more likely to be enthusiastic about the brands associated with that interest, while fans of a particular franchise or group are already predisposed to being loyal customers. After all, there is a reason that a company might be the "soft drink partner of the Dallas Cowboys" or the "home insurance provider of the New York Islanders". These relationships associate the brand with a team, showing fans that a brand and the team they love are aligned. That alignment can engender the emotions that turn the fans of a team into the customers of a brand.

Tapping into Fan Loyalty to Create Brand Affinity

There are a few key ways to tap into fan loyalty and create brand affinity. Firstly, it's important to move beyond simply selling products. Instead, focus on creating an emotional connection with your audience. This could involve telling stories, engaging in social causes, or even just creating a sense of community. Secondly, it's important to be consistent in your messaging and visuals. This will help create a strong brand identity that fans can easily recognize and connect with. Finally, make sure that you're always listening to your fans and taking their feedback into account. This will show that you care about their opinions and that you're invested in creating the best possible experience for them.

If you can tap into the passion and loyalty of your fans, you'll be well on your way to creating true brand affinity.

Five Best Practices for Sports Sponsorships

Tapping into fan loyalty can be a great way to create brand affinity. By understanding what drives these emotional connections, businesses can create campaigns and products that resonate with consumers on a deeper level. So what are the key ways in which this alignment manifests in advertising and marketing? More specifically, what can sports sponsors do to tap into the passion of fans for the benefit of the products and services that they offer?

Here are five best practices for sponsors and advertisers to consider as they sponsor teams and events and look to tap into the enthusiasm of respective fanbases. Implementing each of these characteristics in your sports sponsorship campaigns will create momentum and growth.

Align brand values with the team or athlete

When building a sponsorship, it's important to make sure that the brand's values align with those of the team or athlete. This will help create a connection with fans and increase the likelihood of them becoming loyal customers.

Give first, receive later

Many sponsorships give away free products or experiences in order to attract new fans. However, it's important to remember that these fans should be cultivated and appreciated over time. Don't expect them to become loyal customers overnight; it takes time and effort to build true brand affinity.

For example, many advertisers in sports offer something of value if the team accomplishes a certain feat. A free sandwich or taco if a certain number of points are scored is a fairly common promotion. This kind of offer ties the brand's name to the team and rewards fans if a positive outcome occurs. A creative and unique giveaway can be a great way to stand out from the competition and attract fans to your brand. Just make sure that the offer is relevant to the team or sport in question and that it's something that fans will actually want.

Stand out from the crowd

In order to stand out from the competition, sponsors need to use creative marketing tactics and messaging that resonates with fans. This could involve telling stories, engaging in social causes, or even just creating a sense of community.

In addition to catchy creative, an exclusive partnership or joint message with the team itself is a smart way to stand out from the crowd. The common interest and support of a team, athlete, or event is an excellent way to align your brand with a cohort of fans.

Be Consistent

It's important to be consistent when sponsoring a team or athlete. If fans see that the sponsor is constantly changing its message, they're likely to become confused and lose interest. Your message, position, and loyalty to the team are important to fans. They want to see that you're on their side through thick and thin, wins and losses. Even if your specific messages change, make sure that your overall themes stay consistent. For example, fans of a football team that is proud of its work ethic and community work will find a greater affinity for a brand that shares those values compared to one that sings a different tune entirely.

Fans first brand second

When it comes to sponsorships, it's important to remember that fans should always come first. Brands should aim to create an emotional connection with consumers and take their feedback into account. Only then will they be able to create a successful sponsorship that benefits both parties.

This means crafting messaging and campaigns that are focused on their love of the game, the sport, or the team instead of shouting repeatedly about your company and what you have to offer. Fans are smart. Give them some credit. Help make the experience of being a fan better in your own way and you can trust that their affinity for your brand will grow over time.

A Real-World Example

To best understand how brands can tap into the passion of customers and increase their brand affinity, let's consider some real-world examples. This example demonstrates how a brand can align its marketing resources and initiatives with the core excitement found in its fans. This virtuous cycle drives even greater loyalty and affinity.

FOX tapped into the fandom of Minor League Baseball to promote a new program that is premiering this fall. Local FOX affiliates were deeply involved throughout the planning process and will even participate in gameday activities. Putting well-known local FOX talent in front of fans will help drive attendance and excitement come game day. Custom jerseys will be worn by the players, promoting the program’s title and the FOX affiliate station that the show will air on. Game integrations include Karaoke Cam and dancing on the dugouts, creating fun activities for audiences of all ages. You might even see a horse galloping on the baseball diamond to integrate the show’s country theme. Giveaways and prizes will be given to fans as they enter and exit the ballparks, to keep the upcoming program top-of-mind even after the game.

This example is important because it shows how tapping into the local fanbase of Minor League Baseball markets can create a unique impact and affinity for larger brands. FOX catering to smaller markets such as Norfolk leaves the network well-aligned with fans, with the ultimate goal of driving local viewership and tune-in come premiere night.

The Cross-Section of Fandom and Brand Affinity

Fans are essential to a brand's success, as they can create an emotional connection with the product. Sponsoring a team or athlete is one way to attract new fans, but it's important to be consistent and use creative marketing tactics that resonate with them. Additionally, brands should aim to create unique experiences that bring fans together. Only then will they be able to increase brand affinity and loyalty.

With CrowdConnect Live, a platform of Cast Iron Media, brands can reach fans in new and organic ways through in-venue and influencer sponsorships. We shape campaigns with multiple touchpoints to build engagement where, when, and how consumers are digesting content. This association ties the brand to fans and develops an affinity over time. To learn more about how Cast Iron Media can help your brand tap into the passion of sports fans and leverage fan loyalty into brand affinity, contact us here.


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