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Get Into A Deeper Relationship With Your Fan’s!

As event providers we are all trying to engage with our audiences. But sometimes we aren’t speaking to our fans or participants in the right way. And unfortunately as it turns out, we may actually be on a whole different level!

The connection between you and your fans

Understanding the state of the relationship between your event and your audience is critical. And knowing the level of psychological connection (or ‘engagement’) you have with your fans, can make your relationship much more valuable – for both you – and your fans.

Why is this important?

Firstly by understanding your audience, you can communicate with them using the right channels and the language to connect with them more. And the more your fans or participants feel connected to your event, the more powerful your relationship is with them, allowing you to interact with them in more meaningful ways.

Renowned Sports Business academic Dr Daniel Funk developed the Psychological Connection Model (PCM), to explain sport and event consumer behaviour. The framework suggests we are at one of four stages, from Awareness, to Attraction, Attachment, or Allegiance. We can use this model to help describe how our fans involvement with our sport or event progressively develops, and influences our behaviour (that is – how much we watch, how often we play, and how much we buy!).

Funk likened this to fans being in an elevator. Where the fans connection to the sport, event, team or player could be at different levels, sometimes going up, and sometimes down. I give you an example of how this works below.

Why is this useful?

If we know where your fans are at, we will then know how to ‘take them up a level’. To communicate with them in ways that will resonate with where they are at.

For example, if a Fan is only starting out with you, just ‘Aware’ of your sport, they will have different motivations, and need different information to one of your ‘Advocates’, your more connected and fanatical fans.

And why is this really important??

Because as the research shows us, the value of taking fans up a level, means more valuable fans. They attend more, participate more and spend more.

The studies (and our intuition) tell us, that the more connected a fan is, the more valuable they are to you. They spend more, attend more games, are more likely to bring others, for more times.

Taking fans up a level is important, as the higher the connection, the greater the value!

Taking fans up a level is important, as the higher the connection, the greater the value!

How can you use this?

They way we reference this model in our work is to segment the audience by connection level, and then segment the communications to design the fan experiences and interactions accordingly.

For example if your fan or participant ‘Daniel’ (or a group of fans) have become alienated, we need to pay them some specific attention, to speak 1:1 and understand why, and specifically address this. If they are simply aware of our event, we need to inspire them and address their passion drivers. When they are attending we know we have a connection, so we need to engage with emotional and social motives in our interactions. And as Daniel and co become advocates and activists, they expect, and deserve personalised, remarkable experiences, that they will share with others. This will ensure you keep a high level of connection, and, they will in turn help you spread your message!

Amplify the value – connect with core beliefs!

What becomes especially valuable is when fans move up the categories of connection, they define themselves in different ways.

What level are your fan’s at with you?

We know from behavioural psychology that our self-identify, our beliefs, are a huge influence on our behaviour and attitudes. The way we see ourselves is often the way we will act. For example if you see yourself as a ‘I am an ‘X’ fan’, you are much more likely to act in that way (i.e. to attend), and, keep doing that without questioning it. So this makes this strength of connection even more important, and valuable!

Like in any relationship, when we move from on and off dating, through to marriage, as the level of connection strengthens, so does the depth and longevity of the relationship (hopefully!).

So how this knowledge is valuable to your team?

If you can segment your audience by their level of connection to your event, you can tailor the event communications, and the experiences you offer, to have the most influence.

It is likely that segmenting your audience this way will be far more meaningful and valuable than slicing your audience by demographics. As this means you will optimise your communications, to focus your resources on the most meaningful marketing, and moments that will have the most impact.

It all comes back to what influence you are seeking to have? And in who?

So if your looking to really, truly engage and resonate with your fans, to get them to sign up, and show up more often, this is worth a go.

If I can help with that, let me know!

And BTW – how do you measure ‘connection’? Just speak to me about our simple 3 question survey!

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