Whilst Star Wars’ pop-culture status had long been solidified, little was known about the attitudes or intentions of fans following the Disney take over of the franchise. This was especially pertinent at the time (following the release of ‘The Last Jedi’), as fan engagement with content and merchandise had failed to keep up with the expectations set by the first film in the new trilogy, ‘The Force Awakens’.
KI were approached by Disney to help shed light on the current state of Star Wars fandom amongst children and adults and ultimately, why engagement may have dropped. A part of this job was assessing the barriers and drivers to product purchase and devising a pan-European strategy to boost excitement and sales.
The project was a multi-territory analysis of all aspects of Star Wars fandom. This included conducting quantitative research with over 4000 participants, and qualitative research with over 50 more, across the UK, France, Italy and Germany. The sample was broad so we could build a holistic picture of fandom, and we spoke to children, adults, casual engagers and superfans – and lots more in between!
Our main investigations were focused on broad touchpoint engagement and the underlying emotions behind Star Wars Fandom. We even got fans to share pictures of their most prized Star Wars merchandise and regale us with stories of their most proud fandom moment! From this, we explored what could be done across revealed segments to regularly bring excitement and relevance to franchise. Qualitative research also involved elements of co-creation, which specifically helped us understand what would make the most compelling Star Wars products.
A large portion of analysis was conducted through the lens of the KI Fandom Profiling Model. By looking at the many divergent strands of fandom we were able to understand where and how the franchise has opportunities to better connect with fans to increase persistent advocacy and spend.
Our insights and recommendations were key to helping Disney optimise fan engagement and increase product sales across categories, both immediately and in the future. Our output included the successful planning of the brand’s merchandise strategy across Europe, as well as influencing Star Wars’ overall approach to engaging diverse audiences; in particular children.