There are fans and then there are true fans. The fanatics.

You can be a fan of many things. But when you encounter a brand, or product, or person that you really connect with — that’s when you become a true fan. A fanatic.

For instance: I’m a fan of Starbucks, but I’m fanatical about Crowfoot Valley Coffee (the local coffee shop in my home town).

Fans are people who have decided to give you their attention. They like you, and they’re willing to watch what you do and to stop by to say hello from time to time.

But true fans — the fanatics — they go out of their way to stay in touch with what you’re doing. They read every word on your site. They talk to others about you. They buy every one of your albums (even the crappy ones). And they miss you if you don’t show up for a few days.

The reason I’m a fan of Starbucks is because they’re convenient. They are all over the place and I know I can go to any one of them and get a decent cup of coffee. But I’m fanatical about Crowfoot Valley Coffee because it’s one of a kind. Not only does the owner know me by name, he makes the best Americano in the country.

Am I biased about the quality of Crowfoot’s coffee? Probably. But fanaticism is, by definition, single-minded.

The bridge from fan to true fan is built with emotion.

Anyone can get fans by simply showing up day after day and being genuine. But to get fanatics you have to do something long enough to create nostalgia. Or you have to do something crazy or wonderful enough to give your current fans something to get fanatical about.