Aug 02, 2018
By Amy Jaick
Because no one knows your brand better than its fans.
Last month, nearly 200,000 people made their way to San Diego for this year’s Comic-Con. While the festival is best known as the home of cosplay, comics, and cartoons, it should also be required research for marketers of all industries. It’s simple: the floor of Comic-Con is a case study in the power of marketing. You can see firsthand how fansinteract with one another and with branded activations. You’re able to witness how a passion for a character becomes personified. For example, Jim, a retired Air Force pilot worked on his “Game of Thrones” White Walker costume for more than a year, simply as a way to express his love for the show. These kinds of observations are lessons that should serve as guideposts as we develop and execute our own campaigns.
As marketers, we know that digital has allowed us to measure ROI more easily, target key audiences more clearly, and market more cost-effectively. But, with the ability to reach people for pennies, we’ve become accustomed to the waste that comes when we fail to reach the right audience in the right context with the right messaging. We spend less time in the planning phases because we can optimize mid-stream—adjusting creative, copy and audience segments quickly based on real-time data.
Fans at Comic-Con remind us that brand loyalists are more than just clicks and purchases. They’re in many ways our most critical base. They understand the facets and nuances of particular franchises, but they also have a hyper-aware sense of identity. They flock to the stunts and parties and panels that honor the principles of the fictional worlds—and stray from anything that feels forced or false.
After spending a few days amid the chaos and creativity of Comic-Con, both as a fan and as a marketer, here are four principles that were consistent among the most impactful events and activations.
"AUDIENCES AGE 13 TO 25 ARE 2X MORE LIKELY"
to pay more for products or services from brands they consider to be “authentic.”
"You can interact with your favorite brands and also meet the people that make the stuff that you love, and there’s no substitute for that at the end of the day."