First, I must confess that I was a Comic Con virgin. As soon as I entered the conference, I sent a message to Marri on Slack. I said, “Hey, I feel like I am a fish out of water.” I truly did feel out of place, and I was clearly under dressed.
Yes, I was definitely under-dressed.
We have helped numerous content creators and entertainment companies with their franchise, research, and marketing strategies and plans. But I had never seen the industry as a whole like this before. It was slightly uncomfortable because I was feeling like THE lame nerd on the first day of high school. So, I took a deep breath, rolled up my sleeves, and nervously chatted with a few people -- and then I thought…
‘Wait a minute, I am in the right place. All these creators, producers, agents, heroes, artists, and fans, they are all nerds and geeks who have become cool kids!’
Now I felt like I belonged there, and I was ready to immerse myself into the world of comics, animations, games, and toys. Being an inquisitive researcher (and a Comic Con novice), I found myself asking a lot of questions, particularly what inspired them. I was also curious what inspired the fans to transform themselves into these characters, even if it was for just a few days.
Most people think that fictional content is about fantasy - something unreal. However, based on the answers I got from both creators and fans, I learned that these stories are so much more than virtual worlds, imaginative characters, and dramatized events. In most cases, creators’ intentions are to help the audiences find their inner, hidden power. And, the real reason why fans dress up as their favorite super heroes and heroines is because it reminds them of their goodness, untapped powers (creativity, courage, passion, and etc.), and who they want to be and can be. I found that this common ground is what cemented the bond between creators and fans in this industry and what fueled its growth.
In digital marketing, we talk a lot about audience engagement. But, at New York Comic Con, I’ve learned that audience engagement is not enough to establish a strong relationship between a brand and consumers in today’s noisy marketplace. Instead, the powerful connection is built on audience empowerment - helping people feel confident, proud, and powerful for who they are and who they can be. Bobbi Brown, Always, Middle School Moguls, Home Depot, and Under Armour are just a few brands who are embracing audience empowerment.
As I left my very first Comic Con with this new power of insight, I felt a cape flapping on my back. We’ve got passion to help our clients succeed. We’ve got tools and ideas we can share with our clients. We rescue them when they call us. Everyone who I connected with at Comic Con helped me tap into my inner superpower and inspired me to do better. I might have entered the conference under dressed, but I sure left it with the invisible superhero costume on me.
Left my very first Comic Con, ready to help people who create heroes and heroines.