Long gone are the days when comic books were considered just a niche market for ultimate nerds lost in a world of superheroes with super problems. In the last decade, comics have become a global marketing phenomenon, thanks to major players like Marvel, DC and Image Comics.
If you are a marketer/entrepreneur trying to figure out how to take your customer experience to the next level, comic books are no laughing matter anymore. They can offer plenty of marketing ideas and teach you how to lead your brand from average to DCX superpowers.
If you still look on comics as a naive industry, and you don’t think they have something to teach you for the Age of the Customer, please consider the following market statistics and trends:
Many of the most popular movies of the last years are comic books related: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Guardians of The Galaxy, Captain America.
Many of the most watched Tv series - The Walking Dead, Arrow, Gotham, The Flash, Smallville - are adapted or inspired by comics.
The lists of best-selling books are, more often than not, topped by graphic novels and comics volumes (Maus, V For Vendetta, Watchmen to name a few).
In the era of smartphones and other disruptive technologies, you may think that something so traditional and low tech is doomed to disappear; on the contrary, comics sales just keep increasing, both for the paper and the digital version. What’s the secret? Superpowers? It’s all about a clear business vision and a willingness to ‘evolve to involve’ empowered customers.
It is evident that things today are not like they were 70 years ago, when comic characters like Superman and Batman began to take center stage in the collective imagination. Times change and so do reader’s dreams and tastes. As decades pass by, the greatest achievement for winning superheroes - and the comics industry in general - is the ability to evolve without losing their true identity.
This is the first great branding lesson for any company out there: In an era when every marketing executive is looking for innovative ways to engage clients no product, discount or advertising campaign has higher value than loyal customers.
Inbound marketing is all about replacing the old interruption model with a customer-centric process aimed at empowering people with an amazing customer experience. Behind this new approach lies the perfect recipe for customer retention: exclusive content plus emotional connections plus context awareness, all tailored to suit clients’ needs.
When it comes to turn turn customers into devoted fans, you can only learn from the crowds that gather every time there is a Comics Convention somewhere out there. We have carefully investigated this phenomenon, to trace 5 marketing ideas to get superpowers.
STORYTELLING AND LONGEVITY
Great stories develop a strong and coherent narration through the years. They adapt to appeal new generations, without losing or disavow their foundational ethical elements. Continuity is the key factor to foster engagement, and loyalty is not a one shot. It can only be built through the years, nurturing the community with fresh contents and pivotal moments of identification (i.e. conferences and events).
TRANSFORM FOR THE DIGITAL ERA
"The advent of digital screens will kill the paper". The prophecy is - in some way - true for traditional printings like novels, essays, newspapers. Sure, we live submerged in a digital environment, shaped by computers, laptops, ebooks, tablets, yet comic books are still here. Why? They show that, whatever the technology or the industry, digital customer experience is the key to survive. You must renew without losing your true identity.
FOCUS ON YOUR CUSTOMERS
If the customer is the reason why you do business in the first place, it is critical that you don't lose your focus while dealing with digital transformation. Writers and artists mold their creativity to convey their ideas, but they don't live in a golden cage. They always know the audience they want to reach. Same with super-brands: they know what customers want and try to answer to their desires, deal quickly with issues and deliver a positive customer experience.
THINK AND ACT OMNI-CHANNEL
Major publishers - Marvel and DC, but also Image with the unstoppable march of The Walking Dead - understand that, while traditional formats are still important, they are not enough to ensure real innovation. Today, the passage from pages to movie sets is the norm, and many writers are adapting their method to ensure faster cinematic development (Mark Millar, to name one). Comics, action figures, movies, collectibles, mobile apps, videogames: the rule, in the digital era, is to think omni-channel and push cross-selling.
ATTRACT THE BEST TALENT
What are the distinctive qualities of a memorable comic book? Great writing and thrilling art. Talent is what brings your company to higher levels. Thus, employees are as critical as customers. You need to become the innovative place every talent wants to work for; at the same time you need to develop specific programs to empower people and improve employee engagement. So that each share a common vision and become your first loyal fan.
The longevity of Superman, Spider-Man, Batman and their friends and foes with superpowers can be attributed to their passage from simple fictional characters to immortal icons. When you read their stories, you enter an emotional world and share specific and unique values. The same way, the building of a super-brand requires a fine tuning, starting from mobile strategy. This is the mission for which we wake up every day.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How Archetypes Changed How We Think About Digital Customer Experience