We were talking last year on SMT about the growing role of underground communities and their impact on brand equity. It's still surprising that brands don't consider more cautiously the deep net and what we consumers and citizens are currently doing: regrouping around affinity; engaging around projects that matter in our lives; negotiating with other individuals to reach our goals. In this ecosystem, influencers, individuals, corporates and causes are on the same field, trying to better reach attention from critical masses of users. And therefore engage us.
Some social places seem totally forgotten by brands: you don't see many big brand involvements in crowd-sourcing or crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter, or more dodgy and uncontrolable networks, even if that's where key influential chemistry happens.
It's a fact: with the consolidation of Social Media market (monitoring solutions, for instance, now belong more and more to big corporates like Salesforce or Adobe), there's an industrialization of marketers' approach to social networks and "conversations": brands need to automatize their investment in the diverse channels, which is understandable. It explains why a lot of Social Media approaches are weak: Social Media cannot be handled using traditional targeting, which focuses only on demographics, "macro" data. Traditional indicators tend to drive the decision-making process to only focus on average consumers; average analysis lead to average communications. You just have to look at how boring a lot of FMCGs Facebook fan pages are.
In order to maintain a certain creative vitality of brands, brands need to "break" their understanding of media; and more precisely how they get an access to us, consumers. To a certain extent, "mainstream" is dead, and we're experiencing a new era of "Many-Stream Mainstream." We need to focus on subculture; as technology becomes a "life force," subcultures become the main bone of contention for brands as networks rise through cultural mash-ups and phenomenons. They are some of the most dynamic places, fertile environments in which people shape, influence and even lead the next big societal changes. They are where we find inspirations as human beings. And they can help brands to develop a shared sense of purpose. As consumers are the new shareholders of companies; and as such they are the ones who will deeply act or counterstrike against the brands tying to talk to them.
As Sputniko! says: "if you have a dream that no one follows, it's an empty dream." Let's dive into subcultures: