What Brands Can Learn From “True Blood”

June  24,  2011 / By Taylor Blog

Brand managers often ask themselves, “What can we do to get consumers to engage with our brand via social media?” When I ask myself, I think back to times when I’ve engaged with brands through Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve come to realize two things. One, I engage with brands when I’m passionate or curious about them. Two, a lot of my interactions have been with television shows – in particular, HBO’s “True Blood.”

It really makes perfect sense. I’ve read all 11 of the books that “True Blood” is based on, I own all of the seasons on DVD and tune-in to the new episodes every week. I’m enamored with the “True Blood” story and have spent years watching its characters evolve. I’m invested in them and curious to see what will happen next.

It was hard enough for me to wait a whole week between “True Blood” episodes, but now that the show’s in its off-season, I was really hurting. To get my fix, I checked out its social platforms and was captivated by what I found.

To remedy fans’ TBD (True Blood Withdrawal), “True Blood” has posted a variety of videos to its YouTube channel. In fact, the show put your average sneak peek to shame by posting the first eight minutes of its season premier (airing June 26).    

But the YouTube videos aren’t even my favorite – it’s the interactive Facebook application “Immortalize Yourself” that really impressed me. It takes pictures of your friends and inserts them into a short clip of the show – and the pictures aren’t just hanging on the walls in the background, they become part of the story too. In the clip, characters appear to be holding pictures of your friends, and at one point actually act as if they’re calling you on the phone. Fan of the show or not, it’s a seriously cool app.

Television shows are naturally teed up for online engagement with fans. They tell us stories and introduce us to characters that we form emotional bonds with. I started to engage with “True Blood” through social channels, because I’m passionate about the show, but I continue to engage because of its stellar social media offerings. Not only is the content entertaining, but it also gives me cool ways to share my fandom with friends.

What if other brands could recreate the kind of connections that are inherent between TV shows and their viewers? Perhaps the tables would turn – instead of brands pushing out content and praying for consumer engagement, fans would be begging for more ways to interact. Then the challenge would be keeping up with fans’ growing demands for new, creative content to enjoy and share.

Photo Credit: True Blood Facebook Page

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