Persona Marketing – Marketing Characters Online
Yesterday I discussed the importance of preemptive marketing as a reputation management 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
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.
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 preemptive marketing purposes.
Someone, for example, has created a Lindsay Lohan Twitter account and is using it to make fun of Lindsay Lohan‘s penchant for getting into trouble.
On the other hand, a Steven Wright fan has created a NotStevenWright Twitter account 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 countless personas for consumer products 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 Chester Cheetah Cheetos 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 Chester The Cheetah MySpace at Google, 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 one MySpace user who has adopted Chester Cheetah as his MySpace persona and there is a Chester Cheetah fan group 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 Comcast’s online marketing of their spokesturtle personas, Bill and Karolyn Slowsky, 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 Marlboro Man 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 Lord Of The Rings characters. And they are all one another’s friends, of course.
The Frodo MySpace page 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 Bilbo Baggins, Samwise the Brave, Gandalf 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.