Sunday, July 24, 2016

8 Things You Should Know Before Making Entertainment For Your Brand

Hello friends and welcome to my 8-part blog mini-series unboxing what I believe are key factors to consider when you are thinking about pursuing entertainment for your brand/franchise. I’m posting these factors as weekly mini-posts to help break down this complex subject into bite-sized ideas.

Observations from Licensing Show.

Crowds at 2016 licensing show

Very recently I attended the 2016 LIMA event in Las Vegas this year for four full days. It was perhaps the most energetic and well attended licensing show so far.  There were many trends and noteworthy observations to be made, but for me, the most interesting amongst them was the absolute explosion of brands and companies of all sorts that were considering, or committed to, creating entertainment for their brand.

This entertainment and character gold rush is understandable when one looks at the continual growth and success of character and entertainment licensing in general. What’s driving all of this? The audience: Millennial families in particular, are increasingly making stories they love, part of their own ongoing stories and lives.

There’s a lot that’s new in just that one statement but this 8-part blog series is going to focus on what I believe are some important understandings that any brand exec, manager or creator should know if they are considering creating entertainment for their brand.

Note: For those who are interested in a much deeper dive into Millennials and Gen-Z, we are hosting an all day seminar on October 28th in Newport Rhode Island to share those deeper insights and understandings on the subject.

Click here for Seminar information

8 Things You Should Know about Entertainment For Your Brand:

1.) Be sure that entertainment is the best answer for your brand.

Not all brands should have entertainment developed for them.  For brands today, success comes from delivering EXPERIENCES through your product or franchise that help your audience to discover and become more of who they want to be. This is as true for watching TV, going to a movie, or eating at a restaurant, as it is for playing with a video game or toy or wearing licensed clothing.

An entertainment story is one way to achieve inspiring aspirational change in your audience but it is by far not the only way to do so. 

A well conceived and innovative brand re-imagining that engages the consumer/audience with compelling experiences that can grow into a relationship can often be delivered through innovative products and plans that clearly deliver that benefit. 
the Art of Shaving Store and Experience

As an example, visit any of the growing number of “The Art Of Shaving” stores. When a guy enters the store, you become inspired by product, message and experience (even getting a shave), to become more of the kind of successful guy you’d like to be through grooming that connects you to the generational beard-tribe through shaving. 
Old technology made relevant by the brand story

They also get you to drop $250 on 100-year-old shaving technology proving that there is no such thing as old, only irrelevant…and they are relevant! They achieve this without entertainment or spokes-characters by delivering a rich and deep internal narrative experience.

Net/net, transformative experiences that build to a relationship are the key and entertainment is only one form of transformative experience.

It’s also important to note that there is a very, very, significant cost associated with developing entertainment. Putting a fraction of that cost into your brand/franchise work and developing experience-based engagement can sometimes have an equally large, or larger and longer lasting impact than entertainment.

Here’s some gating questions to establish if your brand is a good candidate for entertainment development.

  1. In what way does your brand help your audience to change themselves in positive ways and is entertainment the most powerful way to inspire that change?
  2. Is your brand’s business presently based on character affinity and if not, should it be? Story and character can’t artificially make product and services important unless they are fundamentally and organically important to the telling of that particular human story. Making a story just as a vehicle for product placement dilutes the story and can alienate your audience.
  3. Does the entertainment you are considering pursuing drive more than a single category of product to justify the profound time and money investment that will be needed?
  4. Do you have the financial depth to properly fund the entertainment and ongoing story relationship you will begin with your audience and/or do you have a brand with powerful enough equity to attract an entertainment partner?

This ongoing series will unbox those questions and other factors each week.

Next week’s post: Entertainment can reset and eclipse your existing brand's equity

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