There are major differences between Beauty Gurus and Sneakerheads. For example, Beauty Gurus have hauls whereas Sneakerheads have pick-ups. But both groups exude the same sort of passion as do Marshmallows, Twihards and Harry/Hermione Shippers.
These are just some of the insights revealed in a new e-book published by Zefr, the fast-growing YouTube content management company that boasts of a wealth of data on how brands, and fans of brands, use the platform.
Beauty Gurus include YouTube vloggers like Michelle Phan, who have built huge followings with instructional videos and other beauty-product focused fare. Sneakerheads are a Web phenomenon characterized by people, usually guys, who obsessively collect vintage sneakers.
Both Beauty Gurus and Sneakerheads like to chronicle and dramatize their shopping exploits on YouTube. Zefr's new e-book claims that YouTube is filled with such brand-passionate subgroups, which are just as obsessed as Twilight, Harry Potter and Veronica Mars fans ("Shippers" are people who root for particular romantic pairings, like say Harry Potter and Hermione Granger).
"A fandom is a community based on a specific interest," said the report's author, Meredith Levine, a self-described Fanthropologist with an M.A. from UCLA in Critical Media Studies. "That interest can be a product, celebrity, destination, business, activity, you name it."
Brand fans aren't that dissimilar to the vibrant communities that have built events like Comic-Con into massive media gatherings that pack convention halls. And like those fans, brand fans wield power—and probably should be catered to by advertisers (or at least, not ignored).
"Fans that rise to the top become arbiters of taste," wrote Levine. "Much like trusted food critics, trusted fans who manage to achieve a certain status within their fan communities become voices through which purchasing decisions and partnerships are made … [the] brand message might not be as true as a brand might like it to be, but fans like a minimally viable brand they can imprint themselves onto rather than something fully formed that does not have room for them or their work."