Fan Identification and Consumer Behavior
Learning Objective: Understand the theory of identity utility as a set of behaviors associated with strengthening one’s commitment. Develop an ability to draw a connection between fandom and consumer behavior to brand loyalty.
General Points to Consider:
- Translating a fan’s emotional commitment into supportive behavior for the business/brand/product/”thing”
- What does it mean to be an external stakeholder?
- Besides emotional, what other ways can a fan be invested?
- How is media used to amplify affiliation?
- What role does a story have in compelling a person to become a loyal fan?
Using the theory of identity utility from Hoegele et al (2014), explore the concept of being an “external stakeholder.” Pick an example of a certain group and detail the specific behaviors, attitudes, and emotions that group members perform to promote their affiliation. When exploring your choice, use the definitions from Thorne & Bruner (2006) to define the terms of fan, fanaticism, etc. Are there levels of involvement and identification with your choice? If so, explain the differences in behaviors. Example groups can be a brand (like Apple or Nike), a sport or sport franchise (NFL of the Las Vegas Golden Knights), a political party, etc. Make a point relating to the role narrative and brand story has on fan identification, persuading consumers to go “all in” on internal and external investment.