Can Slow Meticulous Model Building Work in the USA? Fanhome has the Track Record for Success

One of the challenges of any business is customer engagement. Whether you are an NBA team, a YouTube influencer, a rock and roll band or a toy brand your goal is to get people to spend a lot of time with you (and not elsewhere).

I had a chance to speak with Nuño Pasqual del Pobil, Chief Digital Marketing & Communication Officer at Fanhome, the global leader in subscription-based collections and models.

The Italian company started in publishing 120 years ago, and has evolved its fascinating business model to include licenses from Marvel and Fast & Furious.

It is called a “build-up model process” whereby you get pieces each month in the mail for the model, along with rare items like concept art or magazines. Each model takes at least a year to build.

The original idea was to assemble 330 magazines into an encyclopedia. The collectibles part of the business started over 50 years ago, and is now spread across 33 countries.

Nuño described how the company tapped into customer’s enjoyment of the journey as part of the collectible experience. The brand evolution began to incorporate the experience, by supplying and leveraging all the background and depth of interest. “Pop culture brands can offer tangible items and the depth sought by the fan,” explained Nuño. “We are not just shipping a figurine, but also a magazine of at least 8 pages often more with background.”

I received the first couple shipments for the Dodge Charger R/T from the Fast & Furious franchise. The end result will be about 100 parts, and over two feet long. The booklets provided further detail about the car, and I began to see the attraction. “Partworks is what we call the overall business model,” said Nuño.

Because you can cancel your subscription for parts delivery any time, I asked about the churn rate, as I wondered how many folks fell away from the process. “Retention rate is very high for the car model,” confirmed Nuño. But he acknowledged the churn rate is higher for figurines.

Collectors come from across demographics, which bodes well for a strategic expansion of Fanhome’s licenses. The company has licensing deals with landmark brands. “We want to be with long lasting content generators,” asserts Nuño. “We offer a tangible, not a digital experience.”

Nuño pointed out two key aspects of the Fanhome business model: convenience of timely monthly delivery and the storytelling experience. Some builders will customize their models, and occasionally Fanhome offers such opportunities. A broad social media presence has developed for collectors to engage and share.

In closing out our conversation, Nuño proudly said that Fanhome is “moving confidently into US market after our longevity in Europe. We are starting humbly and confidently.”

 

 

 


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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