The bandwagon fan has long been the scourge of the die-hard fan, and I have become one as I wrote yesterday when it comes to the Carolina Panthers and the Golden State Warriors. The brand of a bandwagon fan, or more specifically, the brand face of one is diametrically opposed to the die-hard fan.
On the one hand, the long-suffering fan who has been there through thick and thin from the depths of last place to the pinnacle of a championship to the other side of the bandwagon fan who finds his new favorite team only when it is winning us over.
Both the NBA and NFL have teams with these kinds of fans: The NBA’s Golden State Warriors, who started the year at 23-0, and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers who currently sit at 13-0. Not too long ago, each was at or near the bottom of their respective leagues.
I know personally what it means to be a die-hard sports fan. Having attended Temple University I am a life-long fan of the Owls. I have seen the ups and the downs, but I have always been a fan.
At the same time, located here in Greensboro, North Carolina, its hard not to get swept up in the bandwagon of “Panther Nation.” When I turn on the TV, it’s hard not to get swept up in the fun of watching the Steph Curry.
The belief that drives the bandwagon fan.
As I think about it, however, the beliefs that drive each of the bandwagon fans and the die-hard fan are really different.
If you have read anything about Stealing Share’s approach to building brands you have surely come across the word precept. A precept is a belief that serves as guide for our decision-making. We have a process in which we model what the precepts of the target audience are and test them quantitatively.
A precept we see from time to time is that “successful people are better,” which is probably not something that most people would want to admit. Keep in mind, a precept does not have to be true to be powerful, it only has to be believed. Everyone does not believe the most powerful precepts, which is why they are so powerful.
So when we consider the bandwagon fan and the die-hard sports fan, that single precept is what separates the two. What is so interesting to me is that, while that belief may be uncomfortable to admit, it is in fact what drives the bandwagon fan. It’s better to be on the winning side. Winning is better than losing and successful teams are better. If you want proof, wait until the winning stops and see who is left on the bandwagon.