2 marketing tactics to nurture more entertainment brand fans | Insights

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Two truths every entertainment brand must follow to stay competitive

February 2024

  • Brody Lahd, Associate Creative Director
  • Justin Renvoize, Creative Director

For entertainment brands looking to stay visible in a crowded digital marketplace, you have to navigate an environment that doesn’t always fit neatly within your marketing calendar. In fact, to retain your audience, you have to find a way to connect with them at any time and on their own terms.

Whatever area of entertainment your brand is in, your marketing should take cues from how other entertainment brands use their content to keep fans engaged and beyond their time using the product. From sports leagues and franchises, to video game publishers, to puzzle makers, innovative organizations are finding ways to stake their positions in pop culture by connecting with audiences on the platforms they’re already using. The same should be true for your brand, no matter your industry.

For any brand, your fans are your most important audience. The bulk of your marketing should always be dedicated to finding them, interacting with them, and keeping them engaged. Otherwise, they won’t be your fans for much longer.

Two universal truths for maintaining a bond with your fans

Entertainment brands can look to sports for two constant truths when it comes to marketing:

  1. Audience expansion is always the goal.
  2. Always-on content is your most important priority.

Of course, guiding your marketing to fulfill those truths is easier said than done. It also carries a measure of risk if your efforts aren’t combined with a well-considered strategy.

Your attempts to expand your audience can’t come at the expense of alienating your existing fans. And, just as delicately, your content needs to remain true to your core brand identity, even as what your brand produces increases in volume. Otherwise, you run the risk of appearing inauthentic to your true fans while making a clumsy youth play that sounds like, “How do you do, fellow kids?”

Whether your brand specializes in sports or video games, your fans will only spend so much time with your product. In the attention economy, people can only dedicate so many hours to watching or playing games. However, your fans still have the capacity to engage with you in other ways.

Your job as a marketer is to create a broad enough footprint that will find them on the right channel in a way that works for them.

Extend the reach of your brand with multilayered content

Larger brands in the entertainment industry can look to sports to see the wealth of possibilities for expanding the scope of their content. For example, the NFL successfully courted a young audience by partnering with pop culture and sports influencers who posted on social media about their love of the game.

The league also capitalized on the popularity of short-form channels like Twitter and TikTok to post meme-styled highlights to reach a new generation of fans. And, given the fragmented nature of the media landscape, the NFL never had to worry about alienating its existing audience. The TV audience never crossed paths with the brand’s social outreach, so any shifts in approach were effectively invisible.

Always-on content engages your audience on every channel

An always-on marketing approach allows you to create a complete ecosystem of content that offers more opportunities to connect with fans beyond a single purchase. And your brand doesn’t have to be digital-focused to capitalize on the connection possibilities of digital channels.

For example, one company that specializes in jigsaw puzzles uses TikTok and Instagram to create engaging promotional content to engage their fans. The brand goes a step further to create companion Spotify playlists for each puzzle they create.

As their audience engages with each puzzle, they develop a deeper connection with the brand by having curated experience accompany their play. Plus, the music is enjoyable enough that fans continue listening even when not engaging with the puzzles.

Not only does the brand’s connection with fans grow stronger, they also equip their fans to become advocates. Every playlist and social media update from the brand presents another opportunity for fans to share more word-of-mouth posts on social media.

YouTube connects Nintendo with a new audience

One of the largest gaming companies in the world, Nintendo, has developed Play Nintendo, a site that serves as a crucial platform for the brand to engage and connect with its young audience.

Offering an assortment of interactive activities such as puzzles, quizzes, and more, Play Nintendo provides a vibrant new way for fans to connect with each other and the brand. Plus, it offers a way for younger audiences and newcomers to the brand to grow more familiar with their favorite characters and the worlds they inhabit.

YouTube acts as an extension of both of these goals. Capitalizing on the channel’s built-in young audience, the Play Nintendo YouTube channel builds off the brand’s site with engaging, on-demand video content. Fans can watch videos of their favorite characters and the things they can do as well as view clips of kids and families playing games, having fun, and exemplifying the brand’s positive perspective.

YouTube offers multitudes of options for gamers to engage with their favorite titles and brands. With the Play Nintendo YouTube channel, Nintendo offers the same content but aligned with the brand’s story. At the same time, Nintendo meets their audience on their own terms without the sales pitch typically associated with branded content. YouTube is just another way for Nintendo and its fans to stay connected.

Multichannel content offers control of your brand’s story

One of the core advantages of an always-on content approach is it doesn’t have to be expensive. On one hand, you should dedicate the resources to monitor and create for your audience in a way that suits each channel. But as compared with market research or million-dollar ad purchases, your brand’s investment is low.

Fundamentally, your marketing should provide your fans with the tools to stay interested and get other people interested. Even something as simple as a downloadable banner that allows fans to change their social background can create a feedback loop with your brand.

Your brand provides an opportunity for fans to declare their connection to your products. Then, your fans share their interests and want their friends to be interested, too.

Providing your fans with content on the channels they use also provides more control of your narrative. Instead of following the YouTube channel of an influencer who talks in a way that doesn’t suit your identity, your fans get information from the source. In the process, you build greater affinity between your brand and its fans.

Increased fan engagement rewards shifting your success metrics

In a conventional marketing model, you worked to drive customers to your website. This hub-and-spoke model offered the potential of drawing a clearer connection between your marketing and its subsequent success. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly outdated approach. And with so many channels available to reach your fans, your website can no longer occupy the center of your marketing.

The challenge of an always-on approach to audience expansion is the difficulty generating quantitative data. It’s simply hard to prove how a downloadable image or behind-the-scenes social video directly led to a purchase.

However, by maintaining awareness of your brand, its products, or its characters among fans, you’re nurturing a more lucrative connection. If this sounds like the kind of connection your brand needs to develop and expand, we should talk.