The difference between company and brand? Fans.

There’s a world of difference between a company and a brand – and the reason is the Fans.

That’s the view of the organizer of South Africa’s first virtual fan-building conference, Fans, HaveYouHeard’s Head of Culture and Editor-in-Chief of Snacks and @thisisin__, Brett Rogers.

Rogers maintains that successful businesses are built on the same basic principles: developing a strong customer base within a well-defined segment of consumers who want or need what you sell, and serving them well.

But, once you get the hang of it, he says, you need to separate yourself from other smart entrepreneurs in your category who have also been successful, and get people to choose you and stay with you for the long haul. This is where the brand comes into play.

“So what separates the most powerful brands from the rest?” He asked. “It’s their ability to build a community of loyal defenders. People who connect not only with what they do or do, but also with what they stand for. The biggest brands today don’t have customers, they have fans. And, as one of our speakers, Ben Milhench, said, “Fans forgive; customers don’t.

Rogers added that influencer culture and its acceptance by society has led to the rise of fandom as a key part of the brand.

“Two decades ago, maybe only a decade ago, if someone you were passionate about – say a football team or a musician – accepted a brand as a sponsor, the overwhelming response was that they were ‘burned out’. .

“This reaction is no longer the norm. People have come to recognize and respect that brands that champion their interests and fuel their passions must also make money; that musician or that football team included. And they are ready to invite them into their lives and give them the opportunity to be part of their communities, as long as they are there to add real value.

The @Thisisin__ Fans webinar will take place on November 3rd and will feature industry, brand and community leaders offering unique perspectives on the secrets of creating fandom with the intention of empowering marketers and progressive communicators new insights and ideas that can inform their strategic approach to the future – proofing and growing their own brands.

In a quick 2 hour format, the webinar will feature nine local and international speakers including Lauren Dallas from Future Females, Ryan McFadyen from HaveYouHeard, Bill Milhench from Treble UK, Angelique Kuiper from Resonance International, Mbali Ndhlovu, Martín Dueñas from LaLiga Tech, Ninel Lara Musson of Vth Season and Paul Machin of RedmenTV.

Among others, topics include “Brands Need Purpose”, “Turn Fans Into a Community”, “Creating Impactful Brand/Talent Partnerships” and “Driving ROI from Technology Through personalized fan experiences”.

Taking place on November 3, tickets for the @Thisisin __ Fans conference cost R100, available on Quicket.

There are a limited number of free tickets for Bizcom fans. To access these tickets, click on this link: for the conference ticket page, click on “Tickets” and enter the promotional code BizComFans, which will give you the 100% discount.