This past Thursday, hundreds of thousands of writers, movie producers, actors, fans, and every other sort of person even peripherally involved with comic books, action movies and television, and science fiction have descended upon San Diego for the 2013 Comic-Con International. The four day event is jam packed full of exhibits, panels, promotions, and other events to connect entertainment industry professionals with their target market: ardent fans. While Comic-Con was originally meant as an opportunity to educate and appreciate the cultural contributions of comics as an art form, the massive festival is now known as a giant crowdsourcing opportunity for media entities. And, as this year’s convention has started to show, it is one massive brand-building opportunity.
Large movie studio conglomerates have used Comic-Con as an opportunity to drum up anticipation for the newest blockbuster release, based off the strength of the brand. Major movie studios, such as Legendary Entertainment (the shop that is behind “Pacific Rim”, “Man of Steel”, and the upcoming “Godzilla” reboot), have erected massive, expensive exhibits for attendees to gauge interest in upcoming projects and to further cement the brand’s image.
But smaller, lesser known brands are making their mark at Comic-Con, too. While they might not have the same recognition strength as larger, well established brands, these entities are placing themselves in front of attendees – and potential fans, quite cleverly. For example, the MTV show “Teen Wolf” has branded the free Wifi connection for the entire convention. Now, whenever an attendee tries to get on the Internet at the convention, they will see and sign into the “Teen Wolf Free Wifi”. In a similar vein, basic cable channel A&E’s “Bates Motel” has branded the convention restrooms, using references to the show’s characters and themes in the signage (the women’s restroom symbol for the weekend is a knife-wielding woman). This fun, innovative branding helps the smaller attractions stand out amongst their behemoth co-exhibitors, and maximizes the amount of people exposed to the brand.
So why do we care? Because the same principle can be applied to brand awareness online. The key to building recognition, especially when you’re smaller or less well known than your competitors, is to identify where your target audience is, and to place yourself there. “Teen Wolf” knew every attendee would want to use free wifi; you need to identify what your company’s free wifi is. Are there community forums, online industry communities, or particular blogs and media outlets that your target customers frequent? If so, make you your brand has an active presence there. And make sure you’re memorable – offering original, unique, useful content and creating a brand persona that is attractive to prospective customers, a la “Bates Motel”.
Finding your niche – and your customers – online can be tough; luckily, inSegment has the experience and expertise in creative and branding to help your company stand out like a Comic-Con pro.