In the last few weeks, I have been analyzing why fans want to go to conventions. I have talked about everything from the escape from reality that they provide to providing the chance to meet and connect with other fans. Last week, I focused on how having celebrities attending can also increase people’s interest and attendance at conventions. After all, we all know why fans would want to meet their idols or celebrities that they like and admire. It is no secret that most fans covet pictures with their idols and autographs of them. Also, I think we all know what having positive experiences mean for fans and for their fandom. In my experience, meeting someone you look up to and having a positive interaction is super special. Since fandom is about something and/or someone you are passionate about, that passion can be reinforced and increased if meeting an idol or idols is positive. It is a high like no other resulting often in *squeeing* internally and/or externally, smiling for days and non-stop talking about it! Thus, we all know why fans want to meet to celebrities and how it makes them (us) feel! Yet, how does it benefit celebrities to meet fans? After all, many of us don’t get to meet Duran Duran and we still remain fans. I know that I won’t get a chance to meet all of the celebrities I admire and that won’t cause me to stop admiring them. So, really, why should celebrities show up at conventions or do meet and greets? They won’t lose fans if they don’t, so why should they bother?
I have been thinking about this question a lot lately. What benefits do meeting fans give bands and other celebrities? I already know a number of you are thinking things like, “They should want to meet their fans. Fans are who put them where they are today. They should do it to show their appreciation.” While that may be true, that is still answering the question from a FAN’S point of view. I am asking the question from a BAND’S point of view. How does it really benefit THEM to meet fans? How? I guess one reason is because it could feel good to show that appreciation. Sure. I could see that. Yes, I’m sure it is also a huge ego stroke after meeting people who think you are wonderful. Obviously, events like conventions, pay celebrities to be there. Yet, I can’t imagine that the money is THAT good that it would be worth having to sign autographs all day or smile in pictures with people who are strangers without there being more to it.
I ask again. How does meeting fans benefit celebrities? Here is what I came up with but still feel like I’m missing some big, important ideas that I’m hoping others can help fill in.
*Feels good to give back to fans
*Payment if it an appearance at an event
*Possibility for good press with the media
*Solidified fanbase who are more dedicated as evidenced by them buying more products, spreading good word to other fans and to non-fans which can even increase fan base.
*Increased loyalty with fans. Fans who have had a good experience with someone are more likely, I believe, to be forgiving if the celebrity does something “wrong” or something that fans don’t like. They are not as quick to leave the fandom.
What else am I missing? It seems to me that the real focus is solidifying the fan base that is already there for a celebrity. While I believe it has the potential to increase fans, it doesn’t do that in a super big way. Does it really just benefit those stars who have seen better days and are just hoping to stay where they are? Does it benefit the up and coming stars who need those positive stories out in the media? Does it benefit celebrities much at all? If so, how?? What do you think????