While exact details of the inaugural event remain under wraps, Steve Smith, chief executive at Ear to the Ground, told Event that Fanatic Live will bring top fan specialists together under the one roof. "It's a hands-on get together from some of the best minds in fan culture. We'll be setting up shop in [London's] Soho to take a look at everything from group behaviours to new technology.
"At the moment we've got everyone from global brand directors to professors of anthropology signed up to get involved and impart their wisdom. It’s going to be fantastic," he says.
Ear to the Ground has recently recruited Millie Killeen as partnerships manager, to help raise the agency’s profile. "Millie has a rich experience in the marcomms industry," says Smith. "Her role is to help us build partnerships with clients, suppliers and other agencies that can help us to keep developing innovative ways to connect with fans.
"The world is moving very quickly and Millie is here to make sure we keep our ear to the ground."
The fan focus
He explains the agency has always focused on sport and music – two areas that are known to attract aficionados in droves - which led to a natural focus on fans. "We realised that 'fans' act very differently to 'consumers' in how they behave and traditional models of engagement just don't work.
"We look at things like dress codes, language and rituals to really understand the uniqueness of fan behaviours. It's an emotional, devotional world driven by ideas of identity and belonging. This all needs to be understood if you really want to connect with fans," Smith says.
Ear to the Ground has established its own fan planning department known as Fanatic, to further uncover this notion of fan behaviours. "All of the ideas that come out of the agency are driven by insight from Fanatic," says Smith.
"It means that our clients get tailored campaigns and activations that are designed specifically for fans. It means they work."
This practice is of benefit to brands that play within the sport and music industries in particular. "A lot of our activations involve live events simply because fans are so pre-disposed to sharing live experiences," Smith explains. "At Ear to the Ground we call these 'liminal moments' and they are often a key part of our campaigns."
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