Getting Marketing Miles Out of Your Superfans

In my tween years I was a huge fan of the WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation). I would watch every episode of Superstars of Wrestling and Saturday Night’s Main Event, among other various WWE programming. I’d watch all the pay-per-views on VHS days later, since my parents wouldn’t splurge to watch it live (I’m not bitter or anything). I’d even watch Talking Wrestling on the local cable-access channel in Marshfield, MA, which consisted mostly of prank calls and thick Boston accents.

I was a superfan to the full extent of the definition. I begged my parents to buy me championship belts and action figures, take me to local wrestling shows and I was undefeated against my big stuffed panda bear. When Hulk Hogan had his ribs broken by Earthquake, I sent a bevy of get well letters to his hospital bedside. I even got a postcard back. The "writing" looked eerily similar to Arial, but I’m sure it was just coincidence and he wrote it all himself.

Superfans are everywhere. From television shows and video games to automotive and even CPGs, superfans are embracing the brands they love. They aren’t getting the “superfan” title just because they tune in every week or refuse to drink any other kind of soda. Superfans are the rare but powerful fan base that is sharing branded content with friends, creating unique content of its own and providing an authentic endorsement of a product or service that a brand could never replicate. 

Brand managers: Are you listening to your superfans? Are you recognizing and rewarding them? Are you embracing them on their own platforms? If not, your brand may be suffering because of it. 


3 Television Shows that “Get” Social

Television has been “social” for years now, but the rapid embrace of real-time marketing in 2013 (and we’re only two months into it) has shifted social TV into a higher gear. 

But the topic of brands reacting to television programming via social channels has been discussed ad nauseam. I’m not sure anyone can write an article lately about social media without mentioning Oreo, and this year’s Oscars apparently invited every brand to the social media party, whether it was relevant or not.

What is largely forgotten in all this is the shows themselves. Social media is fertile ground for television programs to engage audiences not only before, during and after an episode airs, but also during the off-season, making social a year-round commitment. Now that countless brands utilize real-time second-screen tactics, it’s time to investigate which shows and channels are innovating in the social space. 


4 Brands Winning Big in Social Media with Surprise and Delight

This past weekend I had the joy of throwing a surprise birthday party for my wife. And by joy I mean massive amounts of stress and that sick feeling in my stomach I get when I have to withhold the truth from my wife (which is infrequent, I swear!).

After I took her out for lunch and a spa treatment, we returned to the house, where the guests were huddling in the rear hallway. When we pulled into the driveway, my wife noticed that one of the trash barrels had been moved to the side porch (to make it easier to clean up after the party). Even though I begged her to take care of it later, she had to put the barrel back in its place. This would mean we’d enter from the side door, not the front door, as had been intended.


The Best Advertising Isn’t Advertising Anymore

For decades, advertising was a joyous place. Executives enjoyed two-martini lunches as they watched the ad dollars roll in. Ads were spread through every new medium—from print to radio to television. Ad agencies were held to vague benchmarks, and they promised massive exposure (as measured by metrics like number of print subscribers, average daily travelers passing by a billboard or number of television purchases) to the highest bidder. Brands blindly believed that these metrics (potential eyeballs) meant guaranteed success. 

Advertising still is a joyous place, but for different reasons. Two-martini lunches are a thing of the past (or at least I’m not invited to them). But martinis aside, advertising in the post-advertising age is filled with amazing creativity and opportunities to constantly challenge the status quo, innovate and reach audiences with unique and authentic content.


4 Great Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content

Great user-generated content (UGC) should not exist in a vacuum—it should be reused, when and where appropriate, to bring color and authenticity to a brand’s marketing.

As brands expand their social-media footprints, many have also (smartly) placed more emphasis on engaging with their fans. As a result, they’ve begun proudly featuring selected consumer contributions in print, TV and online advertising. Dedicated fans often create a gold mine of content that’s just waiting to be explored, and in due course, brands have begun to dip into this resource. It’s the easiest and most direct way to build relationships with customers, because their passion for their favorite brands makes them happy to respond and share their stories—messages that are infinitely more compelling than what the brand might say.

Here are some great ways to use freely made consumer-generated content from social channels to great effect.


Three Ways the Second Screen Is Shaping the Future of Television

Have you heard of the second screen? If not and you’re a marketer of media, you’d better listen up and learn fast; a number of television networks and individual programs have started taking this concept seriously and are, as a result, tightly weaving audiences into a more dynamic viewing experience. If fantastic recent examples like NBC’s The Voice, CBS’s 54th Grammy Award ceremonies and WGN America’s syndication work continue to crop up, the second screen will soon enough become your new first priority.

5 Big Ideas for Content Marketing

5 Big Ideas for Content Marketing

This post originally appeared in our August issue of “Live Report from the Future of Marketing,” our monthly Post-Advertising newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

Most marketing agencies approach their content with the standard brush. They take a look at the latest tools and trends, and pull together a few tips here and there. That subtle approach is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this difficult economy, that’s no longer good enough. Desperate times call for bold strokes. That's why we at Story Worldwide have decided to put our money where our mouth is — we're not only outlining five key ideas for the future of content marketing, we’re currently investing in them.