Zero True Fans

When push comes to shove, many brands stand alone.

Many brands have zero true fans.

I’ve helped many brands to deal with messy comment sections filled to the brim with online trolls, slander, and hate.

But the biggest problem with the existence of haters isn’t the haters themselves. It’s the absence of lovers. It’s the absence of having true fans.

This begs the question:

What if having true fans is at the core of having great public relations?

How to define true fans

As defined by Kevin Kelly, legendary founder of Wired Magazine and futurist, there are something profound to be said about true fans:

“A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the ‘best-of’ DVD version of your free Youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month.”

The true fans of Doom

Game developers typically struggle for years to create a great game — and Doom Eternal was no exception.

But for various reasons, the Doom developers realised they had to push their launch date.

Thousands of hours worth of development suddenly hanged in the balance.

Here’s how Id Software communicated the delay on Doom’s Facebook page:

The true fans of Doom.
An example of corporate transparency.

For the developers at Id Software, this turned out to be quite the breeze since their customer base had nothing but respect and support for the decision.

Here are a few typical reactions from the comment section:

Zero True Fans | Reputation & Crisis | Doctor Spin
Zero True Fans | Reputation & Crisis | Doctor Spin
Zero True Fans | Reputation & Crisis | Doctor Spin
Zero True Fans | Reputation & Crisis | Doctor Spin
Zero True Fans | Reputation & Crisis | Doctor Spin
Zero True Fans | Reputation & Crisis | Doctor Spin

Even though the Doom fanbase on Facebook predominantly consist of a demographic (young to middle-aged white males who enjoys violent video games) regularly described and portrayed as a menace to society, the Doom fans are nothing but respectful, forgiving, and supportive.

In other words — they are true fans.

Who will side with your brand?

The question isn’t, “Why are there rude people in your comment section?”
The real question is, “Why aren’t there anyone defending your brand?”

It’s therefore never the question of how to make bad people disappear; it’s about how to attract, reward, and empower your true fans.

The insight that should hit some community managers like a ton of bricks is that many brands have no true fans.

In short: You get the type of brand community you deserve.

How many true fans does your brand have?

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


Avatar of Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Communication Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Grab a free subscription before you go.

Get notified of new blog posts & new PR courses

🔒 Please read my integrity- and cookie policy.

You and I must save the PR industry. And there's only one way forward that's fast and agile enough—online education.
Most popular