Few brands come close to the passion around Harry Potter (something BFG knows quite well given our client work with Warner Bros). That passion has taken the form of digital communities and fan fiction sites that were created and embraced well before the term "social media" was coined. Today's SXSW panel Potterize It! Sharing The Magic Of Fan Culture featured the early creators and contributors to these sites, Andrew Sims formerly of Mugglenet, Heidi Tandy of FictionAlley, and Melissa Anelli of The Leaky Cauldron. A Harry Potter fan and social media librarian, Lisa Bunker, also offered her perspective on the Harry Potter fandom and what other brands can learn.
Bunker posed a relevant question for the marketers in the room, "Does fandom have a trick or two?" She went on to say that it shouldn't be about having a trick. It's about getting back in touch with why the brand is there in the first place and what they're trying to achieve with consumers. Connect with the passionate dreamers, she said. And remember that passion can't be manufactured. To have a fandom, that passion has to be real and authentic.
In the case of Harry Potter, some of the brand's fans are moving on to other fandoms. They're not necessarily abandoning Harry Potter but they're taking that passion, that sense of community and what they've seen around fan-created T-shirts, bands, and all kinds of materials and they're applying it to other entertainment properties. Panelist Sims is the perfect example of this. He's moved from Mugglenet on to a new project,