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Persona Marketing – Marketing Characters Online

Yesterday I discussed the importance of as a tactic.

Today, let me address another reputation management tactic that should be considered for within an overall brand marketing strategy: Persona Marketing.

There are several types of personas:

  • Celebrities are their own personas and brands
  • Consumer products and services that use a character for branding
  • Creative intellectual property that contain characters such as novels, movies, and video games

With
the exception of celebrities, whose being and persona and brand are one
and the same, personas are not actual human beings.

If you, your business, product, or service depends at least in part on a character or persona for brand marketing, you need to consider how to use that persona online.

Celebrity Personas


lindsay lohan
Originally uploaded by elsabet

If you’re a celebrity, "your people" should be registering accounts to all the various Web 2.0 social sites if only for purposes.

Someone, for example, has created a and is using it to make fun of ‘s penchant for getting into trouble.

On the other hand, a fan has created a and is using the microblog for posting Wright’s one-liners. It’s too bad Wright himself hadn’t done the same because, with it’s 140 character limit, Twitter is the perfect format for promoting the comedian because his jokes are generally within that size limit: "I replaced the headlights on my car with strobe lights. Now it looks like I’m the only one moving."

There are or services but I could find few who were putting those characters to work online in a strategic manner.

Consumer Product/Services Personas

Frito-Lay’s character, for instance, is a natural for a MySpace page. He’s a sunglass-wearing cool cat: "It’s not easy, being cheesey."

Chester Cheetah could show off his commercials on the videos page; photos on the pics page; and he could blog there as well. If he adopted the MySpace culture, built up his friends list, commented on his friends MySpace pages, shared music, etc., the page could be a powerful platform from which to extend the brand.

But there is no official Chester Cheetah MySpace page. Search for , and the first link is to a video clip from Family Guy that portrays Chester Cheetah as a bandana-wearing, Rush fan getting his fix.

There is has adopted Chester Cheetah as his MySpace persona and there is with 162 people.

Chester Cheetah is being appropriated at MySpace but there is no official alternative for people to find or friend.

Last year I wrote in depth about , that included a YouTube channel for the TV ads, an official web site, and a blog where Bill and Karolyn talked about all things slow.

It’s a great example of effective persona marketing online.

The is not a good fit for MySpace or any other space that is known as an online teen hangout, but I could see him having a blog. He could just talk about the cowboy life and man’s men things. He would not even have to mention cigarettes.

Book/Movie/Video Game Personas

Characters from creative works are potentially a very rich source for persona marketing that can help extend the brand online.

I don’t know if it is a deliberate, official campaign, but it looks like it could be: Someone has created MySpace pages for all of the major characters. And they are all one another’s friends, of course.

The includes this description from the About Me section:

I am Frodo Baggins. Im am a hobbit from the Shire. My best friend is Sam. I am the Ringbearer of the one ring. I had to travled to get to mordor to destroy the one ring. Sam and i must destroy the ring before its to late. Finally we get to mordor and destroy the ring of power. Now everyone can get back to normal. Me and Sam were heros.

Frodo would like to meet "people from Middle Earth" and he has 1004 friends; foremost among them are , , and the rest.

If this is a case of citizen branding, the citizens have done a great job and have treated the brand well. But citizens will not always be so kind; better to be proactive than reactive.

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

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