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Why The Heck Do Brands Need “Fans”: What In The Brave New World Is Going On?

In new product development, “feature creep” is the term given to the rapid expansion of the feature set of a product. This chapter explores “fan creep” a cultural notion which argues that the “fan” status associated with popular culture such as television audiencing has been colonized by marketing and brand managers and essentialized, wrongly, as a necessary element of consumption. Isn’t it good enough to be a consumer or a customer of a product? Not any more. Through the production, development, and promotion of notion such as “raving fans” and “engagement” in the business education and consultancy market, consumers of products as mundane as tortilla chips have been conceptualized, albeit with some success, as rabid fans.

Through the scientizing of studies of fan culture, and cultural studies, more about fan consumption has been understood and applied by marketing managers in the last decade than ever before. In addition, as exemplified by Facebook “fan” pages for every consumer product imaginable, the Internet itself has been marshaled as a community forum for turning consumers into “rabid fans.” Charting the rise of “fan” terminology in business literature, management practice, and Internet offerings, this chapter explores how, why, and to what effect consumers have been turned into “fans.” It offers conclusions about where this leaves television producers, brand managers, fans and consumers, and those who are interested in conceptually understanding their worlds.

Fandom is Creepy

In the world of new production development and innovation, the term “feature creep” is given to the tendency of designers and engineers to keep adding additional or new features to a product. For example, a cell phone manufacturer might first add a high-definition video camera to the phone, then a digital voice recorder, then a remote car ignition apparatus, a bottle opener o the side, and finally, a small flamethrower for emergencies. These extra features are infamous in the worlds of high technology and computer software development. Web-sites are particularly prone to this creeping featurism. Feature creep is commonly blamed for cost overruns and missed schedules. It over-complicates the elegance of basic designs. It leads to tradeoffs, often in efficiency. It also complicates the world of marketers, which thrives on simplicity. A simple and clear message, based on a clear feature or feature set, can cut through the clutter of thousands of competing claims and is usually the best one.

When applied to the world of fandom, the word creep has a rather different meaning. A creep is an unpleasant, undesirable, or obnoxious person, usually a man. As the adjective undesirable would suggest, the term has negative sexual connotations as well, as creeps can be not only lonely but also predatory; they tend to try too hard, but they are stigmatized, they find acceptance difficult. In the Radiohead song, the uber-creep, speaking for all outsiders and marginalized Others says: “I wish I was special/But I’m a creep/I’m a weirdo/What the hell am I doing here/I don’t belong here…”
As the “get-a-life” responses of Jenkins (1992) indicate, and practically all fan scholars point out, various media fan communities have suffered with this stereotype of being creepy, mainly male, and sexually unattractive losers for many decades. Whether the negative image is accurate and well-founded or not is not the issue here, although fan scholars tend to argue convincingly against it. As recent movies like Kyle Newman’s “Fanboys” suggest, the negative image of the fan persists in popular culture and in popular thought. The advent of information technology and the rise of videogaming and anime seem only to have spawned new forms of bias, new alleged proofs of the inherent nerdiness, uncoolness, and desperation of the fan.

Given the major issue with the notion of the fan-as-creep, why then do we have the very obvious issue in marketing and business of fan creep? Fan creep? If feature creep is the tendency for new product engineers to add additional features to a product, I propose in this chapter to use the term fan creep to reflect the idea that business managers, strategists, and particularly marketers have hit upon the notion that consumers should be courted as more than mere consumers, but as “fans.” The chapter thus explores how the popular culturally embedded notion of the fan identity has been increasingly colonized, analyzed, synthesized, and regenerated as an strategic objective of contemporary marketing managers. Partially due to the idea of the fan, and partially reflected within it, consumption in contemporary postmodern society has been reconceptualized as an affective commitment that is a desirable, if not a mandatory, goal of effective marketing practice.

From a cultural perspective, I find the notion of fan creep fascinating. With some minor exceptions, media and cultural scholars rarely venture into the considerable and, I believe, significant yet business-school-embedded literature on consumer behavior, marketing, and “Consumer Culture Theory” (see, e.g., Arnould and Thompson 2005). Yet marketing and consumption scholars have been examining, and contributing to, managerial thinking on the image-laden, meaning-drenched and symbolic nature of consumer responses to product for over half a century. In Levy’s (1959, p. 124, emphasis in original) revolutionary “Symbols for Sale,” he contends that “if the manufacturer understands that he is selling symbols as well as goods, he can view his product more completely. He can understand not only how the object he sells satisfies certain practical needs but also how it fits meaningfully into today’s culture. Both he and the consumer stand to profit” (see also Gardner and Levy 1955).

Thus there is considerable impetus to track, in however rudimentary a fashion, the outlines of the history of the development of the fan idea in consumption and marketing. This idea stands at the junction of cultural and media studies and of consumer culture and marketing scholarship. These notions of affective attachment and “brand fandom” thus can serve to expose important and dimly understood notions of the nature of both consumer and media society.

What does it mean for a consumer to be a fan? Why would consumers want to be fans? Why would marketers want consumers to be fans? Are there risks to marketers? Are there risks to consumers? What does the notion of consumer-as-fan indicate about contemporary consumer culture? How might it change our understanding and our theorizing about media culture, popular culture, and consumer culture? In this chapter, I will touch upon the answers to these questions without deeply alighting upon any of them. The chapter will proceed first by overviewing and analyzing several key managerial texts pointing to the growth and diffusion of the consumer-as- fan idea and identity-goal. Next, the chapter will offer an analysis of fan identity that seeks to synthesize notions from fan studies with those from consumer research. Finally, the chapter will offer some provisional conclusions and suggestions that may lead to further understanding of this phenomenon.

Stark Raving Fans

Although it is certainly not the first use of the term, I will begin my examination by pointing to the completely un-revolutionary 1993 book Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service as a useful exemplar. The book, by “One-Minute Manager” author and consultant Ken Blanchard is based around the simple idea that satisfying customers is no longer sufficient for contemporary businesses. The bar has been raised and the goal has changed to creating “raving fans.” Although Blanchard (1993) is vague about the specific characteristics of the customer fan, the metaphor is used constantly and consistently throughout the book to illustrate how particular companies have created advocates, or evangelical supporters, out of consumer interactions. He discussed “owning” consumers, by which he means not just gaining their purchasing power for their entire lifetimes, but also their hearts, minds and, yes, souls. His key points pertain to customer service. By exceeding expectations, shifting to what he calls “Legendary Service” (thus introducing, albeit merely by implication, the important mythic component) consumers can be completely owned, and turned not merely into fans but into raving fans.

The term “Raving” is particular important and interesting, as it occurs in the title and throughout the book. Raving, as used here (prior to the advent of MDMA and techno, of course) is an adjective that commonly preceded the term “maniac” and referred to someone who was acting, usually talking, irrationally and incessantly. The term has a delirious quality, overtones of the feral, as well as of admiration, as in “a raving beautify.” Raving, we can conclude, is about extremely strong emotion that causes a powerful reaction, one of being both impressed and also being talkative. Blanchard’s raving fans are in love with a company, with a brand, so much so that they cannot stop thinking and talking about it. It is in this idea of lack of control, perhaps more than anything, that the attractiveness of the concept for business seems to reside. If a manager can hit upon the correct customer service formula, Blanchard seems to suggest, consumers will go out of their mind with mad, crazy love for a brand.

Of course, as has been over-analyzed in the fan studies literature, the term “fans” originates from the same root as fanatics, the Latin fanaticus, the one who belongs heart and soul to a particular temple. We see the same emphasis on affective commitment in popular definitions of fandom and fans, such as in Sandvoss’ (2005a –in FANDOIM book, p. 8) specification of “fandom as the regular, emotionally involved consumption of a given popular narrative or text.” Sandvoss (2007, pp. 22-23), however, points out that his earlier construal may have been desceptive narrow. “[W]e do not describe popular icons such as musician,s actors, or athlete, or other fan objects such as sports teams, as deliberately authored texts (Sandvoss, 2007, p. 22).”

Yet fans will follow particular icons or objects across multiple media, reading about a sports team on the Internet, in magazines and newspapers, buying books, traveling to stadiums, and watching it on television. Thus deliberate authorship is not necessary for the text, and the reader her or himself seems to be an operator in this transmedia space, drawing together iconic symbols and images across a range of platforms. “The fan text is thus constituted through a pultiplicity of tectual elements; it is by definition intertextual and formed between and across texts…” (Sandvoss 2007, p. 23). The guiding principle, however, is one of emotion involvement, of affective commitment. And it is this element of fandom, of the fan experience, that has drawn marketers, business consultants, and business managers like moths to the light.

Another important illumination comes from the influential book The Entertainment Economy: How Mega-Media Forces are Transforming our Lives by Booz-Allen & Hamilton consultant Michael J. Wolf. In book form, Wolf (1999) offers a single, simple, big idea. Media and entertainment have become the driving forces of the global economy. Therefore, all businesses need to act like they are in show business. At the early morning of the Internet age, everyone, he claimed, needed to be in the content business. Although, amazingly, although he never mentions or analyzes fans and fandom in his book, Wolf (1999, p. 282) citing the Harley- Davidson “pilgrimage” to Sturgis does say that “entertainment entrepreneurs are exploiting the communitarian impulse that was formerly the exclusive province of religion.” Fanaticus devotees appear yet again (see also Pine and Gilmore 1998).

This explicit relation of brands to religious devotion probably reaches it culmination in Scott Atkin’s (another advertising manager) 2004 book The Culting of Brands: When Customers Become True Believers. Atkins’ premise is intriguing, if a little bit frightening. Because cults inspire such loyalty and devotion, perhaps we can learn what they do and replicate it in business to build these deep, lifelong, irrational and emotional commitment. He therefore studies a range of different cults, such as the Unification Church, in order to derive basic principles to guide brand marketing. He follows this by showing how these principles of “cult branding” have been followed by companies such as Harley-Davidson and Apple. Atkins is noteworthy because he also studies fan clubs and repeatedly holds up fans as iconic of a sort of idea consumer type, one filled with longing and desire for a commercial offering.

Loving Big Brandther

Another key text in this movement towards the acceptability, and near inevitability, of desiring to have deeply desirous consumer and delirious customers as the fans of brands is 2004’s Lovemarks by Kevin Roberts, CEO of the global advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi (block above is my linked Amazon affiliate #ad). Utilizing the common problem-solution format reminiscent of how all great advertisements sells their wares, Roberts (2004) begins the book by pointing out how brands are in trouble around the world. Shares are declining, loyalty is buckling, so-called “private label brands” (the ones that retailers sell with their own store brands) are on the rise. Why is this so? What can be done? You don’t need to buy the book, of course. I’ll explain the most important bits. But it is a very pretty and beautifully designed book, if not a bit outdated by now.

In the book, Roberts proposes that the problem is that brands have been managed in an overly rational manner. However, consumers are not rational, and they do not seek a rational relationship with brands. They seek a deep, passionate relationship with brands. They want to love your brand.
The remainder of Roberts (2003) embarks upon a general voyage to discover the ingredients behind “lovemarks,” which is his new term for brands. No longer should a brand merely be a designation of origin, of quality, or of attributes. It must be a mark of deep emotional commitment. Unlike mere products, brands, or fads, Lovemarks command both respect and love. They do this through a magical trinity of mystery, sensuality, and intimacy (Robert 2003).

What is important in Robert (2003) is not so much the details of his formula, but the absolutely clear, and highly influential, shift away from the desire for purchase to the desire for desire. The difference between a brand, which is respected but not loved, and a lovemark, which is both loved and respected is, of course, love. And what could exemplify this love more in the Church of Mass Culture than the relation of the fan to the object of their unquenchable desire?

Economically, socially, culturally—in terms of devotion there is no one quite like the fan. Evocative of the hyperbolic “raving maniac” quality of not only Blanchard (1993) but the fanatical fanaticus devotees, Roberts (2003) frequently describes the consumers’ relation to lovemarks as “loyalty beyond reason.” Mystery? Sensuality? Intimacy? In a brand? In the world of the contemporary marketers, the desire for consumer irrationality reigns supreme. Indeed, it it more than just a desire. As any episode of Mad Men (or Bewitched, for that matter) clearly illustrates, marketers study consumers and deliberately plot and plan how to induce irrationality.

In a world where private label brands often contain nearly if not the exactly the same products as name brands at significantly lower prices, the irrationality of consumer response to the brand is absolutely key.

The lovemarks approach is certainly not without its critics. “[L]ovemarks not only describe those certain big-name products for whom consumers have special feelings, it also describes the entire current ethos intent on cutting through the clutter of branding with emotional connections.. . it becomes clear what the strategy of lovemarks really is. It’s a forged connection to authenticity, a borrowed veil of integrity, a disingenuous stab at honesty” (Moore 2007, p. 29). Roberts (2003) describes the addition of love as the addition of heat, or emotional temperature.

Moore (2007) however, is not buying it. Her argument against the concept seems to be based on its alleged inauthenticity: “Because, in the end, ‘lovemarks’ describes not an emotional connection but a financial transaction” (Moore 2007, p. 29). That critique is mistaken, however. As any comic book fan that has just purchased a precious title can tell you, or a sports fan who pays big bucks for a hot ticket, financial transactions and emotional commitments are intertwined. To assume, as Moore does throughout her book, that marketplace transactions are somehow separable from other human relationships is to commit a logical error of the first order. They are not (see Kozinets 2002 for details, if interested). And the fan, ensconced and enraptured by the consumer culture marketplace that surrounds her is the iconic representation of that (I believe, probably along with Roberts and Wolf) glorious postmodern reality.

Grabbing the Engagement Ring

For this argument about the increasing inextricability of marketplace cultures, popular cultures, and the daily culture of lives lived, we certainly cannot ignore the important influence of the Internet and, in particular, social media. The Internet is plays an important part, certainly, in and upgrading and diversifying the media consumption of fan communities, the so-called long tail effect included. Beyond that, the Internet and its connectivity are absolutely complicit in the social phenomena that turns consumers into fans. The way that social media has bee conceptualized has, in fact, helped to create and propagate the phenomenon of brand fandom, brand communities, virtual communities of consumption, consumer tribes and the range of such phenomena (see Cova et al. 2007; Muniz and O’Guinn 2001; Kozinets 1999). There is little doubt that the intertwining of material and popular cultures has important macro and social implications on our world, trends that ramify on a global scale increasingly as the spread of information and communications technologies spreads.

With the rise of social media has come the rise of social media marketing. And the so- called, much-hyped social media marketing revolution has spawned hundreds of self-proclaimed social media gurus who sell, for the most part, remarkably similar and similarly unremarkable tidbits of advice based upon anecdotal evidence. One of the more influential of these self- proclaimed gurus is yet another advertising manager, Brian Solis. Solis’ 2010 book Engage!: The Complete Guide for Brands and Bsuinesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web contains a rather typical packaging of the sort already described, and thus can serve as a convenient exemplar of the flavor of this offering. The salient notion to derive from the genre is the emphasis on the idea and principle of “engagement” which Solis hammers home in his title, which also assists him as a consultant interested not only in explaining but in claiming that intellectual terrain. The term engagement is notoriously, and typically, ill-defined. Solis (2010),

in fact, uses the term repeatedly, and in various ways, without ever offering a defintion. However, his guiding argument runs something like this. The social media revolution empowers consumers to act on their own, writing, publishing, rating, reviewing, recommending, critiquing, organizing, and so on. Consumers are creating communities through social media that have definite business implications and impacts on the way businesses and brands are perceived.

Because of this, marketers must relearn their dark arts. They must move from being broadcasters to being engaged in a conversation. In the cutthroat era of what Solis terms “digital Darwinism” managers and marketers must work to gain the support of online champions.

Employee engagement is widely used as a term to describe the enthusiasm, dedication, and willingness to perform and exceed expectations on the job. It is a love of the company, similar to the love that sadly eluded Winston Smith in Orwell’s Classic Nineteen Eighty-Four. The goal of consumer engagement is parallel. Consumer engagement takes place in and through an active, engaged, positive online community that is full of members who are emotionally committed to a company, a product, or a brand, who are dedicated and devoted to it, who discuss it and even contribute to it creatively and productively, as in the burgeoning literature on consumer innovation (see Fuller et al 2007). The goal of the engagement strategies and tactics is to help foster and create a platform where consumers will respond collectively with a deep emotional response that is reminiscent of fandom. Loyalty, commitment, dedication, devotion, and productivity. Although engagement is frequently referenced in relation to “metrics” or the measurement of various online activities, such as views, comments, or Facebook “likes,” the term is clearly about internalization and affect.
The fan moves throughout the management of social media literature at first like a wisp, but takes form in the phenomenon of the Facebook fan page. In its heyday, probably 2009,

almost every major company had a presence on Facebook’s “fan” pages—which have subsequently been changed to simply pages. Fans could like brands, products, events, or just about anything. Major media channels and specialty sites like mashable commonly spoke about the fan pages of brands and companies and offered advice on how best to utilize them. With the Facebook fan page, the notion of the fan, the social media community, and the practice of branding became entangled. With the discussions on engagement, the transformation of consumers into fans was now practically complete.

The Anthropology of Ideology Symbology

All of this management bafflegab about fans leaves unanswered the important question about what, exactly, constitutes a fan? I will broaden that question: What is fannish behavior in contemporary consumer culture? I have written elsewhere (Kozinets 2001) that we can conceptualize consumer culture as an interconnected system of commercially-produced images, texts, and objects that various types of groups use to make collective sense of their environments and to orient their members’ experiences and lives. This sense-making is accomplished through the uniquely cultural construction of overlapping and even conflicting practices, identities, and meanings. A certain historical and social configuration anchors consumer culture and, increasingly, this configuration is linked to the offerings of sports, news, entertainment, and “media” industries and companies.
Because consumer culture is related to “the consumption of market-made commodities and desire-inducing marketing symbols,” its relationship to popular culture is obvious. Writing about the reterritorialization of rock music in Turkey, Yazicioğlu (2010, pp. 239-240) notes that this and other forms of music have, globally, offered “us imaginative embodiments of different ways of belonging and becoming” and also have been held to strengthen “the sense of local identity and autonomy.” As with sports, television, movies, and actors, consumers-as-fans are able to locate themselves inside the consumption object and to find a position there that they find authentic. Authenticity and self-expression blend with localization, and music, like many forms of popular culture around the globe “smoothly incorporates itself into and adds imagination to the daily lives of people” (Yazicioğlu 2010, pp. 249). IUsing the example of Islamic Iranian women who defy religious law to sneak into the soccer stadium and root for their home team, Foer (2004) powerfully illustrates the story of soccer’s incredible cultural influence.

Contained within the notion of consumer culture is the notion of ideological symbologies—not just symbols, but interlocking and systematic systems and sets of symbols. As Yazicioğlu (2010) amply demonstrates on the national and ethnic level, these pop cultural meanings have considerable fluidity and are prone to local adaptation and cooptation, partly because of their partiality; they are ever-fragmented and always frustratingly incomplete (see Jenkins 1992). Being a fan means responding to the invitation to improvisation, participating in the opportunities a particular popular product offers to participation. So consumer culture is a much seduction as persuasion. It seeks to impel action, rather than compel it, and it is thus of no surprise that the efforts of marketers since the propaganda-informed birth of the post-World War II advertising age have turned increasingly to the inner fantasy lives of consumers to sell their wares.

In this world of desire-for-desire, the fan identity fits like a glove. For if fan culture is linked to ideological symbologies, these symboligies are themselves articulated with interconnected systems of commercially-produced images, texts, and objects. In addition, and especially in a social media age, they are linked to the various ancillary materials produced by multifarious corporate and other social actors as well as by consumers themselves relating to, expounding upon, and expanding that system of meaning, sometimes very significantly (see Fuller et al. 2007; Kozinets et al. 2007; Pitt et al. 2005).

So if the word “fan” derives from a religious meaning, but now is colloquial for a person who is enthusiastic about a specific sport, hobby, leisure activity, or performer, it indicates the fluidity not only of language but of the play of playful and meaningful meanings. Companies, brand managers, and the ubiquitous book-writing advertising managers—each is following the contagion of commitment and the amazing activation of attention from one cultural power center to the next.
Pioneering fan studies scholars Harrington and Bielby (2007, p. 186, emphasis in the original) found a range of characteristics that distinguished fans from consumers, focusing primarily on “their degree of emotional psychological and/or behavioral investment in media texts…and/or their active engagement with media texts…[as well as relating it to] issues of community, sociality, self-identification, and regularity of consumption.” Engagement appears to be a sort of link that raises the stakes for being a fan and, for a company, industry, artist or brand, the potential rewards from having fans. For if, as Fiske (1991, p. 139) noted two decades ago, “being a fan involves active, enthusiastic, partisan, participatory engagement,” then fan engagement seems to lead to production, a production that may have a very long history, beginning “as a medium of political and social protest in the seventeenth century” (Derecho 2006, p. 67).

I’m With the Brand

In the scientific labs of global advertisers and market researchers, the grand experiment to turn consumers into fans continues. Building on the original insights of P. T. Barnum and other marketing/entertainment pioneers, brand scientists are still learning that mythmaking and storytelling is the key to consumer engagement and involvement. Meanwhile, the world of academic struggles to keep up, to inform and to understand the implications of this rapidly changing world. It is in the spirit of such an enterprise that this chapter was written. The areas of fan studies, consumer culture research, and of marketing research and practice have barely begun an interchange. But I believe such an exchange will be extremely fruitful to each of these fields.

Here’s a must have book, if you don’t already have it. Henry Jenkins’ incomparable classic: Convergence Culture (#ad, #enthusiasticendorsement). Ruminating and expounding on similar topics, Henry Jenkins (2007, p. 364) asks: “who isn’t a fan? What doesn’t constitute fan culture? Where does grassroots culture end and commercial culture begin? Where does niche media start to blend over into the mainstream…As fandom becomes part of the normal way that the creative industries operate, then fandom may cease to function as a meaningful category of cultural analysis.” Perhaps Jenkins (2007) might have even gone further. If, fed by scholarly work such as my own, business managers and marketing executives tap into fan studies and fan literature, in an attempt to “crack the cultural code” leading to “engagement,” then the fan identity, distinct as it may be, will become a prevailing standards by which marketers measure consumers’ collective and individual responses to their offering. A brand will not be successful unless it has one million likes on Facebook. An advertisement will not be a success unless it “goes viral.” A commercial will only be authentic when it has been produced by an actual fannish “brand community” (Muniz and O’Guinn 2001). Where, then, does this leave us as critical thinkers and scholars?

In his brilliant and timeless work S/Z (#ad again, and I do like this classic book), Roland Barthes (1974) provides a useful distinction between a readerly text, where there is little room for the reader to enter the text, and a writerly text, a text which is open to the reader’s own input. That writerly text is a participative document that lives in the present, and as a reflection of our own writing, it never stops or completely closes but remains in play and in motion. Building on Barthes, Busse and Hellekson (2001, pp.6-7) speculate that the fans may be open text readers and that the “serial production” of Internet fan activity is in this sense “the ultimate writerly text.” Stepping from the fan realm to the realm of marketing, these notions are reminiscent of the current fascination with what marketing scholars variously call “consumer co-creation,” prosumers and prosumption, and consumer innovation.

Marketing professors Pitt et al. (2005) use the Linux and Red Hat cases to explore the idea of the “open source brand” using remarkably similar concepts. Focusing on the difference between the closed, writerly “corporate brand” and the open, readerly “OS brand,” the authors speculate that the source of open source’s openness can be physical, textual, experiential, or meaning related. They focus upon mass customization, interactivity, the staging of experiences, and brand communities as progressive stages that can lead companies from having closed brands to open brands. However, their work misses huge swaths of consumer culture research that could inform and nuance their perspectives. In particular, they fail to comprehend, acknowledge or theorize about the internal shifts required in the consumers’ collective and individual psyche, and ramifying through consumer culture itself, for this shift in brand experience to occur.

This chapter suggests that these changes are already well under way. When a brand becomes strong or iconic, such as it is in the understandably oft-cited Harley-Davidson example (see McAlexander, Schouten and Koening 2002), the brand is well on its way to becoming not only open source, but at the center of a brand community or brand tribe. What is the difference between a brand community member, or a brand tribe member, and a fan? Those difference seem, at this point, extremely moot. All of which raises questions about the implications of this development for various stakeholders such as television producers, brand managers, fans and consumers. For television and other content producers, the acknowledgment that the consumer can be upshifted into being a fan seems to be spotlighted in the emergent and dynamic field of transmedia and transmedia storytelling (see Ilhan 2011).

For example, consultants like Jeff Gomez help to spice up and build the imaginary worlds around brands such as Coca Cola by creating richly storied places and characters such as those which populate the “Happiness Factory.” If consumers are to be turned into fans, consumers need richer brands stories. As brand management increasingly and deliberately morphs into a sophisticated form of storytelling management, a modern mythic endeavor, professional and flexible television and other content producers will find themselves in ever-higher demand.

The end result for consumers, for audiences, and for fans is an increasingly sophisticated world of offerings, not just of product and services, but also of richly storied tales that wag behind them. After the coming of the age of the fan, the raving, maniacal, unquenchable loving mark/fan, contemporary consumption will never be the same.


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Willis, Paul (1977), Learning to Labour: How working class kids get working class jobs, Westmead: Saxon House.

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