In 1995, less than 1% of the global population had Internet access. Less than 1%!! Fast-forward 20+ years and nowadays, where ‘the web’ is second nature for anyone with an Internet connection, approximately 40% of the global population have it.
Despite this massive increase, many marketers are still setting up their budgets and objectives for regional markets or countries. And within these markets, there is the traditional model of trying to reach as many people as possible with one message. We are attempting to have mass reach in a confined traditional media market.
What if we flipped this around and had a small niche target reaching a worldwide digital market?
What are the advantages to this approach? First of all, this is how the digital world works – there are no barriers to digital content. Secondly, the consumer is now in control of their media and content consumption. They choose where, when and how they will get this content. It is no longer about “pushing” out a message, but rather now about engaging in a two-way conversation – more of a “push and pull”.
Brands are beginning to understand that advertising is now a dialogue, and we see greater success with a message that is being seen or heard through a connection in interest and passion points. Establishing your “tribes” in this way allows consumers to feel a part of a brand – like the brand is truly listening to them and is adding real value to their life.
As our technology advances, it becomes easier for us to find others that share the same interests, regardless of where we live. Brands can now use this information to locate and target a niche audience allowing them to market to an already existing community. Consumers become a community for the brand and (hopefully!) turn into long-term ambassadors for them.
Carmilla is a story for the digital generation, for young women who don’t watch TV live and who are passionate about their Netflix-style storytelling. It is a retelling of one of literature’s oldest female vampires. Shown in vlog-style format, the show uses the YouTube aesthetic to tell a serialized story.
The first season of “Carmilla” tells the story of Laura Hollis, a freshman at Silas University investigating missing girls on campus while dealing with her less-than-agreeable and less-than-human vampire roommate. Following the season one finale, fans demonstrated their love for Carmilla and U by Kotex, by igniting a ‘Save Carmilla’ campaign in an attempt to secure a second season. With zero paid media, #savecarmilla was tweeted 11.6 times per minute and generated 7.7M timeline deliveries in less than 24 hours.
In its second season, the series continued to follow Laura and the gang as the stakes were raised, and they had to save the University itself.
The series has struck a chord with the LGBTQ community due to its representation of strong, diverse characters, and is currently in production for its third season.
Carmilla also garnered media coverage and accolades from many influential media outlets, blogs and news sites from around the world.
The brand became the Executive Producer, their product and commercial programming, always integrated into the storyline in an authentic way. Through the power of strong storytelling and by forging a natural connection with the audience, the show amassed over 45M views in 2 years.
This resulting worldwide, vibrant “tribe”, who call themselves “The Creampuffs”, are encouraged to interact with the show and the brand behind it. This interaction takes place with the series through creation (fan art, comics, music videos, GIFs, and fanfiction) as well as real-life global meetups and group screenings.
With an overwhelming amount of audience interaction and engagement with the brand, Carmilla clearly illustrates the power of branded storytelling targeting a tribe in a global market.
Here Are The Top 3 Steps To Finding A Niche Market And Enhancing YOUR Global Reach:
1. Research, Research, Research!
Reach out to and investigate communities and groups, that you feel will likely resonate with your content or product. Understand their emotional drivers and shared values. Find out how your brand fits into this tribe and how to communicate with them in a more natural way, so they will listen (and purchase!)
Make sure you are ‘around’ for your consumer tribe and strive to build long-term relationships with them. In this day of instant gratification, it is important to not only respond with immediacy, but understand the platform in which they most want to be engaged and conversed with – on their terms and when is most appropriate.
3. Analyze, Pivot, And Change
Always make sure you are on top of changing trends or attitudes of your tribe and be flexible enough to change with them. Your community of loyal customers will be a huge resource for your research, focus groups, and testimonials.