Development of Audience Loyalty Based on Knowledge of Fans’ Communication Behavior: “From Love to Identity”

10.17721/2522-1272.2022.81.3 (DOI)

UDC 316.77:659.117:659.123.5

Tetiana Krainikova, D.Sci (Social Сommunications), Associate Professor, Educational and Scientific Institute of Journalism, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv,
0000-0002-2132-2020 (ORCID)

Eduard Krainikov, PhD (Psychology) Associate Professor, Faculty of Psychology, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv,
0000-0003-3825-9694 (ORCID)

Tatiana Yezhyzhanska, Senior Lecturer at the Media Production and Publishing Department, Faculty of Journalism, Borys Hrinchenko University of Kyiv,
0000-0002-4114-7207 (ORCID)


The fans, as the most ardent admirers of organizations or public figures, are a hyperactive part of the audience and an important source of influence and marketing resource. The essence of fandom is communication, therefore, finding out the peculiarities of communication behavior of fans determined the relevance of the research. The main objective of the study is to find out the main models and the mechanisms of fan communication, which is the basis for building the effective marketing strategies of business companies.

Methodology. The work uses the method of anonymous online questionnaires in order to ascertain the communication features of fandom phenomenon; the method of expert interviews to obtain the answers to the questions about the peculiarities of communication between the fans and the fandoms. The method of secondary analysis of the results of all-Ukrainian research on values, identity, and motivations of Ukrainians, which made it possible to formulate the conclusions about the opinion leaders who gained high audience loyalty. The method of comparison is used to clarify the differences between the obtained results and the results of all-Ukrainian research, as well as to compare the scientific views of theoretical base. A comprehensive theoretical basis for own search was built using the systematic method.

The results of the study. The study revealed the heterogeneity of communication behavior of fans in terms of intensity of loyalty, frequency, and form of contacts with the fans and willingness to invest in their hobbies, etc. The main models of communication behavior of fans were identified as: online fans, party fans and inert fans. The mechanisms of activation of loyalty to the fans were traced: the falling in love mechanism, the mechanism of emotional contagion, the mechanism of social modeling, the mechanism of identification.

Conclusions and suggestions. The recommendations have been developed on how to use fandoms as brand ambassadors in marketing communications. The approaches to activate brand loyalty and audience expansion have been identified. The engagement strategy depends on the brand characteristics, the existing community of fans, as well as the resources invested in the interaction.

KEYWORDS: fans; fandom; fan culture; fan community; marketing communication; brand loyalty.

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