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The ways in which fans engage with their sporting heroes and other inspirational people has changed forever. But what has driven this change?

The emergence of video calling technology has suddenly allowed us to instantly engage with friends, family, and colleagues in a fast, convenient and engaging way, which is particularly powerful when groups are geographically dispersed or short on time. At a touch of a button we can now replicate those incredibly important in-person relationships but without the need to be in the same physical place as them.

This cultural and technological evolution was then supercharged by the COVID pandemic, which forced us all to find new ways to connect with our loved ones or colleagues whilst we were compelled to isolate at home. This scenario helped us get comfortable with modern video technology as a means to interact with the wider world and our personal and professional connections within it.

“Video calling technology has suddenly allowed us to instantly engage with friends, family, and colleagues in a fast, convenient and engaging way”

This evolution has now extended further, allowing us as individuals to create personal relationships with the professional talent and heroes we admire most, across multiple fields including sport, entertainment and with those inspiring individuals whose experience and knowledge can act as a catalyst for reflection and growth in our own lives, all through convenient technology.

What was once an indirect and distant relationship with our heroes as fans, consumed through the prism of highly managed content, can now be based on a much more human interaction, where fans can engage with these personalities in a more direct, engaging, and personalised way through live video chats and other real-time content.

“The evolution of the video calling technology now enables us as individuals, teams, groups of people, clubs, associations and corporates to connect directly with talented professionals across multiple disciplines including sport, entertainment and industry”

So what are the leading platforms in the connection economy that are driving direct-to-fans engagement and what specific services to each of those provide?

We have put together a list of those leading connection economy platforms here:

Platforms – Connection Economy Comparison

1 – LassWho
Website https://lasswho.com
Services – Global marketplace connecting fans & organisations with global heroes and inspirational speakers for live video calls.

2 – Cameo
Website https://cameo.com
Services – A platform for generating personalised fan video messages from global celebrities.

3 – Masterclass
Website https://www.masterclass.com/
Services – Subscription pre-recorded service. Whenever and Wherever It Suits You. Learn Anytime, Anywhere.

4 – Pickstar
Website https://pickstar.pro
Services – Pickstar connects businesses, brands, and fans with sports stars & celebrities to create meaningful connections.

5 – Swysh
Website https://heyswysh.com
Services – Video messages from sports stars, predominantly for Australian sporting talent.

Personalised Experiences

Personal spend on “experiences” compared with the purchasing of consumer goods continues to rise as we all seek to find new ways to enjoy ourselves that elevate us above the routine commercialism and repetitive buying habits that have defined us until recently. 

Gifting

Friends and family are also seeking new and bespoke gifting options to offer their loved ones that can be both highly engaging and more friendly to the environment.

Organisations looking for branding distinction

Aside from consumers interacting with the cream of professional sport and entertainment in a more personalised and convenient way, corporate organisations are also looking for ways to they can differentiate their brand in an increasingly difficult fight for both employing and retaining talent. 

Professional Development Opportunities

This fierce hiring competition is forcing companies to reassess the benefits they offer candidates and to also invest in innovating their personal development strategies towards more lifetime learning and personal development services for staff. This may include providing access to exceptional and inspirational speakers who can offer insights into strategies for success and the powerful “rules of life” they followed in their own personal journeys. This is not only compelling as a tool for acquiring new employee talent but also as a motivational factor for current employees. 

The technologies that underpin the connection economy are also allowing in-demand public figures to take control of their fan interaction and engage with and commercialise those audience interactions on their own terms.

“This includes 1 to 1 video calls with individual fans, more convenient and geographically dispersed speaking engagements for corporate events by presenting virtually, and even the streaming of their own events online.”

These platforms allow speakers to continue to easily monetise and promote their experience without having to necessarily promote themselves, even when their professional careers have ended. 

As the connection economy evolves, it will become easier and easier for fans, people, organisations and brands to engage with professional talent in ways that would not have been possible even a few years ago through the emerging talent connection and engagement marketplaces that are developing at pace.