If you were in charge of the Fanclub...

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by ZacWilliam, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. ZacWilliam

    ZacWilliam Well-Known Member

    Jul 9, 2002
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    The thread over in News/Rumors about renewing got me thinking again about why the fanclub feels like it's not living up to it's potential to me, and what I'd do different...

    1) Web Content: The fact is (though they seem strangely reluctant to admit it) the core TFan club audience is online, so why is the Club website a pretty much total dead zone? This is the PERFECT place for articles and content that is too vast or interactive for a newsletter. Do a sub-page for Club fanfic and for club artwork, both with contests, for kitbashing tips and tricks, for historical annalysis, profiles and fan articles, a weekly comicstrip alla Superdeformers, ect. ANY content would be an improvement really but there's loads of potential.

    2) Story Content: Myself, I'm a story person. I LOVED following it when 3H did the Apelinq journals online back in the day. A well-written eppisodic story, continuing or running alongside the comic/convention stories full of revelations and mysteries, would be wonderful and a great way of fleshing out their universe and adding even more content and value to the member web site. Add mystery, suspence, neat little revelations for fans to examine, annalyze and fawn over (as the Apelinq stuff did). The club comics are just way to short and have so little story content/movement/ characterization so far that it's not drawing me in or making me care at all. Get a good writer on it who knows his stuff and I think you'd have fans eating out of your hands for more.

    3) Exclusives That Matter: Once upon a time repaints as exclusive characters were cool, neat, rare, desireable. Since the end of BW though we've been FLOODED with repaints as new characters (even so far as them getting their own line with TFU). It's not very exciting anymore. It's not rare. It's not cool. (I find this year's free exclusive monumentally boring, combiner or not). That means for it to be Special it really has to BE special beyond being an exclusive repaint. It has to be a character fans are craving done astoundingly well. If a new character, it has to be absolutely gorgeously, stunningly designed and well developed in story and characterization (preferably before hand). Building up to it with stuff like that mentioned in #2 above, for instance. Add to that, that it needs to be in the reach of EVERYONE who's a club member (otherwise why join), the ridiculously prohibitively expensive box set from last year is a perfect example of what never to do. The club should have at least one store exclusive a year in addition to the free joining toy and convention stuff.

    4) Be Fan Friendly- This is another stumbling block for this club in that almost everytime I've heard fans talk about dealing with them they've gotten a negative, dismissive vibe from the powers that be. The overall feeling seems to be that the guy at the top knows exactly what he wants to do and how much effort he wants to put in and that the fans need to get onboard and not ask for or expect anything different from or beyond that. I hope that's wrong, but it's the vibe that the clubs been giving. A fan club needs to be FOR THE FANS. Now not every fan idea is feasible, but they should all be made to feel valuable contribuiting members, and the club should strive to serve the fans what they desire, not try to make the fans take whatever it feels like offereing.

    Anyway, these are my main thoughts. (Also throw in a wish for an expanded newsletter focused more on fiction less on wasting space. Ideally it should at least be the size/page count of a regular comic book.) Comments?

    What would the rest of you like to see from the club if you were in charge?
  2. Joe Moore

    Joe Moore Is Not Jim... Veteran

    Apr 6, 2003
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    It's tough to say. If I truelly were in charge I would do a complete overhaul of the Members Only section of the site. Make it more asthetically pleasing, and have some form of content. I wouldn't share ewsletter stuff on there, but I would offer things like full galleries of the incentive figures and any and all exclusives. I would also offer downloadable content such as wallpapers, AIM Icons, etc. I would also have a blog that would keep people updated on some of the goings on, such as projects I was working on, updates, etc.

    Exclusives are tough to say. With the current leadership, I can see that some difficulities still arise with Hasbro and Takara. If I had completely free reign, I would offer maybe 2 online exclusives a year. One remolded, one a straight repaint. The remold would be of a classic character, the repaint a new character. Both figures would tie into that years convention set.

    It's easy for me to say I would do all those things. But I have no clue about dealing with Hasbro, their design team and what they have planned or with Hasbro legal.
  3. Blastwave

    Blastwave Well-Known Member

    Jan 18, 2006
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    I would make all written content online instead of shipping out magazines. That would make the website more interesting and cut shipping costs down to what it would cost to ship figures.

    As for TF figures, I would pump out G1 homage exclusives like there was no tomorrow. I'm sure Ironhide and Deathsaurus did the best sales during last botcon (yes, they were packaged as an assortment, but they went for more on eBay sold separately) Sure, not all would be free with the membership, but the exclusives could only be bought by or discounted for club members. At least it would be a perk.
  4. Drake

    Drake Smooth Is Smooth Baby

    Jul 2, 2002
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    I don't think I would have done a combiner as the free toy. I would make repaints/remolds that make sense that the fans want. It would be cool to see at least one or two club exclusive repaints/remolds that were available via the website for people who can't make it to Botcon.
  5. Vangelus

    Vangelus Long Live the New Flesh Moderator Content Contributor

    Jun 27, 2002
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    -Well, first thing I'd do is make the web stuff a touch more organized.

    -I'd also come up with crisis control policies, ASAP. No running around various message boards as the primary sources of info. Sure, post to messageboards, but make sure that all pertinent information gets reposted to the frontpage of the club site so that folks don't get miscommunications flying across several non-club boards at the same time.

    -Keep "actively seek solutions to the situation of extra-cost International service" as a high-level agenda item. Not so much to find the quickest solution right away, but to keep the issue raised so that it -can- be solved when methods present themselves.

    -Cut the demn MC newspaper and refocus its budget towards envelopes, packing materials, and filling out the TF newsletter a bit more.

    -Current toy exclusive protocols seem to be working well as-is, though I'd make a point of communicating changes to services ASAP. Also, would try to avoid having features mentioned that are unconfirmed (I think the actual club admin's already doing this, if I read Pete's stuff right?).

    Just some brainstormin'. :D 
  6. Backpack

    Backpack G1 forever.

    Jul 4, 2002
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    Pie in the sky.....

    1. a bi-monthly magazine... like Star Wars Insider... but with Transformers. It would be a great place for info on the up coming movie... with sneak peaks and such.
    Toys from the days of diaclone to present,
    the cartoons (84 up)
    comics (84 up)
    Fan activity (what fans are up to, and an over veiw of web activity)
    Lots of art (professional and fan)

    2. DVDs
    Make available subtittled Japanese series (including G1, BW, CR, ML, SL, GF)
    TF the movie reconstructed
    two OVAs a year (like new G1 episodes, or a War Within series)
    Movie related, DVD with interviews, trailers, etc. Considering the possibility of more films, we could look farward to many years of updates

    3. Toys
    Import section -where everything Takara offers can be purchased. It could be a deal made with current online retailers who import toys.... or set up a new independent store to handle it.

    Exclusives that no other retailer wants

    Fan choice figure. Once a year Hasbro makes a figure we want, from the ground up.

    BG Music from the cartoons, G1 up

    Fan designed T-shirts

    The best TF site and message board on the net. A place that would draw together all the fans... and basicly turn all other sites and MBs into ghost towns. :D 
  7. butz

    butz slippery when wet

    Dec 18, 2003
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    One word:

  8. G.B. Blackrock

    G.B. Blackrock Autobot Ally

    Feb 18, 2004
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    Absolutely agreed. I've made this point in the club message boards myself. Especially in response to the current idea that they will create a message board thread for classic toy reviews. Reviews should be on the SITE! Not buried in a message board.... Professor Coldheart has lots of good ideas for specifics, as well.

    I'm inclined to agree with this one, too. The comic is the highlight of the magazine to me. So much so that I could dispense with most of the rest of the magazine, and put that material on the web site. Unlike Blastwave, however, I do think that some regular mailing is important. A comic read online just isn't the same as one you can hold in your hands.

    I'm not sure it's possible to get a consensus on what's "special enough" on this, but as a generic comment, it's fair enough so far as it goes.
    How to do this in a way that's financially responsible is a huge question. But again, I agree in general.

    This is something that Brian, put bluntly, just isn't very good at. He may be a good administrator, but he's lousy at PR. Unlike others, I don't really think it's from a lack of trying. He's always been very good about responding to direct e-mails and PMs in a timely fashion. But his tone is consistently less than congenial. I expect that he's not trying to be rude, but rather that his demeanor is less-than-"people friendly." Not only that, but based on some of his statements in the past, I really think that he just doesn't "get" what a lot of us are complaining about. It just doesn't "click" for him. He'd do well to hire a trained PR person, rather than relying on fans who, while well-meaning, simply don't have the power within the club structure to properly respond to some of the more legitimate concerns. A trained PR person would not only be better able to communicate with fans, but would also be more fully capable of bringing the fans concerns to Brian in a way that he could hear and understand.

    Now for other comments that I couldn't just encapsulate within ZacWilliam's outline:
    NO. Exclusives should NOT be all G1 homages. A healthy number of new characters, with accompanying fiction to help us care about them, is a good and needed thing.

    And, by definition, toys sold on eBay could not do "the best sales during last botcon". They sold LATER.

    Yeah. I've had to do quite a bit of message board digging to post comments of general policy. It seems a bit silly.

    While these comments are totally appropriate for "what I'd do if I ran the club", I have to say I'd hate to have to pay the costs that I'd have to in order to pay for all of your planned benefits!

    That's enough for now....
    G.B. Blackrock