1. The value of the fan economy
With the development and growth of the market economy and Internet media, the fan economy has broken through traditional cognition. It has become an emerging force that people in the market economy cannot ignore the fan economy, from entertainment to other fields. Intuitively speaking, the fan economy is an income-generating behavior that attracts "traffic" and converts "traffic" into sales. The current significant brands vying to choose traffic stars for product endorsements are a good illustration.
Zhou Zixuan pointed out in his article "Community Order and Spontaneous Economic Behavior: Cai Xukun's Fan Community, Fan Economy, and Psychology": Most fans buy the products they endorse out of support for idols. Because they hope that their love for heroes can be conveyed to them in this way to help their models develop in the longer term (ZHOU, 2021).
In addition, through idol endorsements, product sales and brand exposure can be indirectly increased. For example, the Proya brand endorsed by Cai Xukun once sold quickly in his fan club. Fans will support Cai Xukun's endorsement of Prada, and some lovers even bought Cai Xukun's endorsement product (ZHOU, 2021) for about 20,000 yuan.
The market economy can be seen from this the fan economy generates revenue and drives the spread of the brand in the circle. The fan economy is precisely based on the needs of fans for self-identification, creating and extending the industrial chain based on commodity production and exchange relations so that fans can continue to achieve self-identification in the context of economic activities. In the scene of the fan economy, fans are willing to behave in line with other fans and agree with other fans in terms of concepts, thereby promoting consumption.
As the fans of Cai Xukun in Zhou Zixuan's article said: "I only know about this through my idol, but more because the idol endorses it." I think it's Cai Xukun's image that has been affirmed by fans, which has further promoted the market's recognition. Secondly, Cai Xukun's character is excellent, making fans think that the product is guaranteed. I believe this is the reason why fans repeatedly buy. (ZHOU, 2021)
2. The economic development of Chinese fans in the era of new media
In the era of new media, China's fan economy has developed rapidly. Since 2015, IP has gradually entered the public's field of vision and has become a hot term in the Internet market. At the same time, with the prevalence of network culture, the commercial nature of IP has gradually emerged. Nowadays, the field of IP design is limited to network novels and involves games, music, film, television, etc. A large number of fan groups under each IP has brought considerable profits to these works.
The IP economy has gradually become an indispensable part of the fan economy. With the development of the IP market, the fan economy has begun to play an important role that cannot be ignored in the Chinese market. For some brands, they should give full play to the power of IP, take advantage of the role of the IP economy, and make full use of the self-media communication platform to narrow the distance between idols and fans, create a new way out for the development of the brand, and obtain more economic benefit.
Yilu Liang and Wanqi Shen believe that in the era of new media, high-end fans will buy everything related to artists. Fans' love for celebrities has also brought about corporate brand promotion. There were 650 million Internet users in China in 2015, which is twice the population of the United States (Liang and Shen, 2016). China's ban on foreign social platforms has further promoted the development of China's local, new media. In September 2015, the monthly active users of the Weibo social platform reached 220 million. The vast online community represents the new media era, and the CCP's fan economy is developing rapidly (Liang and Shen, 2016).
3. Brand communication
The early dissemination of corporate brand culture was achieved by improving product quality and improving production technology. People promoted the corporate brand through word-of-mouth recognition of the brand. With the development of the technological age, various technological and technical product barriers are being breached one by one. Brand value has become the new core competitiveness of enterprises (Liang and Shen, 2016). In 2021, the world's 5g network will gradually become popular. Companies began to attract customers through Internet advertising and other methods.
With the advent of the new media era, corporate brand communication has more channels of communication. Enterprises conduct marketing through advertising placement, celebrity promotion, and Internet advertising promotion. Due to the rapid development of the Internet era, short video apps such as Douyin and Kuaishou have spread rapidly in China (Liang and Shen, 2016). Most of the free time of people of all classes is occupied by such short video applications. Some celebrities have tens of millions of fans, which has also led many companies to invest in some celebrity idols. Companies hope to drive product sales and marketing promotion through the powerful communication capabilities of celebrities. Corporate brand communication has gradually changed from offline advertising to online short video anchors to carry goods (Liang and Shen, 2016).
In the early 20th century, China's development was relatively rapid and with China's massive investment in mobile networks and online networks. Chinese people have become accustomed to using mobile terminals as their daily tools. For example, payment and communication are all operated through mobile phones. This has also led to the need for companies to increase investment in Internet marketing resources when communicating their brands in China (Liang and Shen, 2016). So how exactly do companies conduct marketing through the Internet? Companies mainly invest in advertising and marketing for celebrities who have many fan resources to achieve brand promotion. A strong fan team based on stars in companies can get rich marketing returns, which has led to the current mainstream corporate brand communication will choose specific regional celebrity spokespersons for publicity.
4. The relationship between fan economy and brand communication
What is the relationship between the celebrity's fan economy and the brand? The fan economy brought by stars can get a lot of economic income to enterprises. But they can also cause severe brand damage to the company.
The star's fan economy mainly comes from fans' love for the lead. More often, celebrities act as corporate image spokespersons, and their beautiful appearance and elegant and decent image can often bring a good positive idea to the company. For example, some French jewelry companies have set up specific celebrities to endorse in China. Chinese star Cai Xukun is one of the main traffic stars in China, and he is also the spokesperson of L'Oreal Black Bottle in China. Most of the fans buy products mainly because Cai Xukun endorses the products (ZHOU, 2021). Fans will purchase products because of the promotion of celebrities, which is very helpful for the company's brand communication (ZHOU, 2021). Stars can bring a lot of traffic to enterprises. Stars may also have a particularly negative impact on the company.
Although celebrities can bring huge fan economic returns to enterprises, once a star is under the influence of negative news, the negative information brought about by the celebrity's reputation will cause the company to suffer specific losses (Yang and Shim, 2020). Therefore, many companies often make a termination statement as soon as a celebrity scandal occurs.
The relationship between fan economy and corporate interests is interrelated. Companies can gain financial benefits from fans because of celebrities. Similarly, companies will suffer losses due to negative news from celebrities. Therefore, when many companies choose spokespersons, they will carefully consider the essential qualities of endorsement stars to avoid damage to their brand image due to negative news about the stars (Yang and Shim, 2020).
5. The role of the Chinese fan economy in promoting brand communication
As the country with the most significant number of Internet users globally, China is also experiencing the rapid development of new media. A wide range of Internet users has also created a lot of super-traffic stars. And these online fan users also formed a community group. They tend to communicate in the community, and these exchanges make the celebrity's propaganda power even more significant. Through the free promotion of these fan brands, companies can obtain further profits. While gaining more revenue, the enterprise itself will increase its marketing efforts. Fans, celebrities, and companies form a virtuous circle of mutual promotion (Liang and Shen, 2016). China's fan economy plays a vital role in brand promotion.
The movie "Tiny Times" is a movie composed of fans, celebrities, and companies working together. As a fan movie, "Tiny Times" perfectly satisfies the fan's fantasy of the role. And "Tiny Times" also gained many fans through the star Yang Mi who participated in the show. Yang Mi's own Weibo has 60 million fans, and these fan groups have created high box office results for "Tiny Times" (Liang and Shen, 2016). During the promotion of "Tiny Times", stars participating in the show are also required to interact with fans on social platforms. In the end, "Tiny Times" got 5.22 billion yuan in box office results (Liang and Shen, 2016).
The passionate love of Chinese fans for celebrities will make them love the products endorsed by the celebrities together, and the brand itself can also promote the brand by creating its fans. Zeng Liyu's survey shows that fans will use the money to support their favorite virtual brand image (Tseng et al., 2021). Zeng Liyu believes that fans' recognition of the brand's virtual image can positively impact the company's brand promotion.
The high degree of cooperation between the brand's avatar and the brand's fit can guide consumers to purchase goods. As fans of the brand, consumers will carry out related purchase activities because of their love for the brand (Tseng et al., 2021). Brands can strengthen the connection between fans and companies through a series of offline activities. Fans can learn more about the product through the consistency of the corporate spirit and product image. A good relationship between fans and brands is of great help to the company's brand communication and promotion (Tseng et al., 2021).