3 strategies to expand your entertainment brand’s audience | Insights

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Look beyond the numbers before your brand pursues a new audience

May 2024

  • James Chutter, Digital Strategist

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

Voices as varied as Tony Robbins and William S. Burroughs have expressed some form of this idea. And from the perspective of your brand, who could argue? Growth is essential to any business. However, as your brand looks to increase sales, you face two choices:

Do you double down on your current audience? You could always try and capture a bigger share of your existing market, or sell current consumers more products.

Or do you pursue an entirely new audience and find the growth you need by expanding your fanbase?

Both directions have merit, and uncovering the right course for your brand requires a blend of art and science. But you don’t need a high-priced consultant to unpack reams of data to identify new demographics with potential interest in your brand.

What you do need is to look at your brand identity and dedicate time to discovering where its values overlap with any audience you pursue. Otherwise, any money you dedicate toward audience expansion is effectively dead-on-arrival.

Core questions any audience expansion effort needs to answer

Expanding your audience isn’t as simple as turning on a tap to produce more sales. If you want to generate more revenue from your current fans, you need to consider three factors:

  1. Satisfaction: How likely are they to stick with your product?
  2. Likelihood to recommend: Are your fans talking with friends about your products?
  3. Total addressable market (TAM): Does your brand have the potential to expand from its current sales reach?

Targeting your marketing toward building a lasting connection with fans is critical. Even the most popular brands can quickly fall out of favor as its audience ages or as new trends arrive. Before long, you need to consider new areas of expansion.

Before attempting to expand into a new audience, you should understand the gulf that exists between your data and a successful campaign. An assortment of software tools and trend reports can aggregate anonymized details to indicate a huge TAM that’s potentially open to your business.

Imagine opening reports that indicate Quebec loves your brand, and so does Central America. Great news, but what should you do with this information? Numbers aren’t enough to develop a message that will connect with consumers. The larger question for your brand is, once you’ve identified the right audience, how do you reach them?

Understand a new audience’s needs before expanding your marketing priorities

Whether your brand settles on pursuing an audience of college-educated women gamers or a broad pivot to young fans, finding the right creative is often the trickiest part. Too often, brands will get caught up planning how to adjust their offerings in order to capture a new market. For example, think of how many brands adopted “EXTREME” logos and gaudy color schemes to court the youth market in the X-Games era.

Obviously, this approach very often comes off as disingenuous. You don’t want to be the brand whose message comes off as a convoluted version of introducing yourself with, “How do you do, fellow kids?” You want to identify areas where your brand’s products organically overlap with what your audience is looking for.

Sometimes, brands get lucky. The shoe company Crocs was effectively dead with defiantly chunky, plastic shoes with limited appeal confined to kayakers and gardeners. Then, the brand started incorporating plastic charms into the shoes that allowed for personalization, and the idea took off among a new generation.

They have since leaned into this renewed popularity as their data continued to demonstrate the brand was experiencing an unlikely renaissance. But Crocs remain the same shoe even as they found a new audience.

Instead of attempting to reinvent your brand’s identity to suit a new demographic, your brand should look to groups with values that overlap with your brand. Then, you can uncover their motivations and angle your unique selling proposition toward its ability to satisfy those needs.

One-on-one research is key to successful audience expansion

Getting to know your audience is crucial before leaping into a new market. You need to dedicate time and energy to listening on social media channels to understand your audience’s needs.

But along with social listening, you also need to examine your target demographic with one-on-one research. For example, we worked with a major gaming brand on an initiative to expand its reach among young women. We looked at the core message of the brand and tried to find areas of overlap with the problems this new audience was looking to resolve.

Along with applying social listening to develop early insights, we interviewed women in the target demographic. We never asked direct questions about the brand, but we talked about their needs to overcome anxiety and claim “me time.”

We focused the resulting campaign on the way the company’s portable console and its current titles allow for quiet moments of escape and relaxation. We didn’t encourage the brand to change, or develop new titles that could appeal to women. The brand’s story remained consistent while tilting slightly to accommodate a new perspective.

Know your brand before making a move to a new audience

Targeting a new audience requires more than building a full understanding of who they are. You also need to know your brand and how it’s perceived in the marketplace. The right outside marketing agency will ask the right questions of stakeholders and deliver a vital, objective perspective of your audience and messaging.

As your brand considers its many options to pursue growth, you can’t afford to rely solely on promising data and undercooked research. At We The Collective, we can help you uncover the deeper motivations and behaviors of your target audience by asking the right questions. Before you decide where to spend your advertising dollars on a new audience, we should talk.