There’s a new Band in Town: Building Fan Tech by Carl Norberg

BY Graeme Goulden ON MARCH 15, 2019

Creating magic (moments) is what sport is all about – in theory. But it applies to product development too. At #MTPEngage Manchester we had a great opportunity to combine both of these elements with Carl Norberg’s talk about Fantom – a wearable band that brings you closer to your chosen sports team.

Carl Norberg at MTP Engage Manchester

User engagement is central to product people. We need to keep our audience in mind and keep asking who are we actually building our products for? Are we shooting for a wide, diverse, set of users, or is our audience much more refined? “Positive fanatics” emerged as a particular group of users Carl was looking to tap into at the same time that wearable devices were launching. The challenge was how to blend that positive fanaticism with wearable devices.

Carl’s team came to the conclusion that we live in an era of ego – social media is all about ego (Carl refers to it as ego media) – and this was something they could be inspired by. They decided they could turn around the focus on ego and instead focus on love: the life-long love of fans. This life-long love adds drama to your life, and nothing exemplifies this more than sport.

Carl found when he spoke to sports organisations that they all face the problem of a void between themselves and their fans. Creating a meaningful relationship with a sports organisation is tricky for fans because of the factors that influence it – from geography to family to the uncontrollable aspect of performance on the pitch. It’s made all the harder when geography has an impact on the user’s ability to come and “worship” at the venue.

Showing “belonging” is critical to sports fans. You show your colours – and what you love. By creating a visually strong wearable product that literally sits on the skin, they get physically closer to their team. The wins, therefore, come in the emotional connection to the fan and an undiluted channel for communication. It’s a biased relationship channel that can give your users “pub ammunition”, the extra information they want to go one better than their friends in the never-ending competition of sports one-upmanship.

As product managers, we are told to speak to our users continually. But we need to understand why they make the decisions they make, be able to react to changing scenarios we can’t possibly control and understand that a completely biased product – sometimes – is exactly what’s required!

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Graeme Goulden

About

Graeme Goulden

Senior digital product manager at Manchester City Football Club with extensive experience of web, mobile, broadcast and OTT application development. Special interest in developing platforms and delivery of complimentary content across a variety of screens. In 2011, I brought ProductTank to Manchester and have been organising events for Product Managers in the city ever since.