Extending a Brand's Shelf Life with Social Listening

Every brand has to worry over staying relevant with today’s fickle and digitally distracted consumers. So, uncovering ways to extend a brand’s shelf life are essential – and readily available, thanks to social listening.

And it doesn’t require a full reimagining of a brand, but staying open to that possibility is wise! It should follow the relevant audience insight. Let’s see how that looks.

Knowing Which Trends Extend Brands’ Shelf Life 

There’s an animation/live action trend that’s been hot in movies remakes right now. It creates extremely realistic animations that look more like actual characters. More specifically, “live action is a form of cinematography or videography that uses photography instead of animation. Some works combine live action with animation to create a live-action animated film.”

And a search for “live action” remakes shows us that Disney movies have the concept locked up:

a search for “live action” remakes shows us that Disney movies have the concept locked up

More Than a Movie

The Lion King, specifically, is much more than a movie – it’s a Disney media franchise that has spawned:

Following trending CGI-based movie enhancements and its audiences’ love of the film, Lion King’s transition from traditional animation to live action, makes sense. Disney doing most things in live action makes sense, despite any detractors. Each new offering generates lots of excitement:

Disney extends brands (in this case, movies) shelf life with live action remakes that are hugely popular

It’s kind of like transitioning from VHS to CDs and then watching movies online. It’s a reimagining that’s timely and inevitable – not mention adorable:

Lion King animation vs its CGI counterpart in this brand extension

Disney Live Action knows its audience has high standards for online graphics – and the suspension of disbelief here is much more challenging. According to Rotten Tomatoes, they hit on all marks.

We can watch for the next round of re-imaginings from Disney once this live action trend dries up and something new comes along, no doubt. Staying at the forefront of available cinematography makes sense here and will continue to.

But live action, or whatever the prevailing cinematography trend currently is, isn’t necessarily good for every type of movie. It’s important to test the waters with audiences to see what works, with whom, and what doesn’t before diving in. As Cats is creating a much different live action response . . .

Two Very Different Cats

Although certainly as popular as The Lion King, but on a different level, Cats decided to create its own live action version of the long-running, widely adapted for stage musical. It isn’t out yet, but the social insight gives a hint of some challenges its set to face:

Preview of challenges the Cats musical will face around its live action remake

Maybe they should have had a transitional step ahead of jumping straight into this somewhat creepy re-imagining. They went beyond Disney’s Lion King, even beyond Avatar and gave it an avant garde twist. But it lacks both the adorableness of the former, nor suspension of disbelief of the latter, so it has little to fall back on beyond superfans. And those folks exist.

Cats creators will want to tune in to that niche audience ahead of its release. And it looks like they’ll get a good start at that if they focus on Tumblr:

Cats creators should market their live action remake on Tumblr

The lesson here is this: following the success of other brands, no matter how well they’re doing, is rarely what’s best for you. And why settle when there are so many avenues for a brand to pursue. Social analytics allows brands to segment audience insight in a variety of spellbinding, differentiating ways. Just ask Converse . . .

Converse Captured Hearts of Consumer Segments

Converse was in financial trouble in the 1990s, leading to its 2003 acquisition by Nike. But the brand had done such an amazing job of securing a foothold in retro fashion that its new owner retained Converse’s branding, allowing it to keep on doing that voodoo they do so well.

Tom Clarke, Nike’s president for new business ventures, said in a statement. ”Converse management has done an excellent job of re-establishing this beloved brand with consumers and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to implement their growth strategy.”

Today, we see Converse’s social media marketing in action and why it has had such staying power. It keeps the pulse of a variety of demographically diverse segments. And it moves well beyond age/gender lines to include psychographic insight around behaviors, allowing it to speak to a wide range of folks:

Those who grew up with the shoes and have a sense of nostalgia about them:

Those who grew up with Converse shoes and have a sense of nostalgia about them

People seeking versatility and style:

People seeking versatility and style

Cyberpunks who self-identify on the fringe:

Cyberpunks who self-identify on the fringe

And even Nanas who like to keep their shoes clean:

Nanas who like to keep their shoes clean love Converse

And they’ve just created a “sustainable” Chuck option that captures those worried about the environment too:

Converse understands extending a brands' life, as it just created a “sustainable” Chuck option that captures those worried about the environment too

Always in Style with Social Listening

Not that they will every go out of style, but if they do we’re pretty sure Nike and Converse will be on top of corresponding social analytics insight to guide them through. Or even to help them identify trends taking audiences away from their products – and doing so well ahead of anything happening too.

That’s the beauty of real-time, relevant dashboards and reports. They’re not only good for crisis response, but for trendspotting.

And there are many “trends” out there. Most are irrelevant and should be kept at a distance, while others offer amazing potential and require immediate action. Sometimes that line can get fuzzy. Social listening helps bring it back into focus.

And maybe those blurred lines open a doorway to a marketing multiverse. 

Creating a Brand Multiverse, Like Spiderman

Many movie franchises seek to capture new audiences with remakes, of course, and Spiderman offers a timely case study.

Multiple audiences, many with competing interests:

  • Purists, who have read all of the comic books and know the lore as well as the writers. They appreciate plot complexities and nods to other stories.
  • Kids who have grown up with the series and want something they can relate to
  • Parents who seek something they can enjoy along with kids
  • Adults who look for wit and humor that isn’t watered down for youngers

Every movie won’t be the best match for every segment, but balancing those competing interests in each, to capture each to some degree, is important. Of the needs above, each version of Spiderman hits all of them, but in different ways. And sentiment, overall, is strong – coming in at 75% (on a scale measuring love, ranging from -100 to 100).

sentiment, overall, is strong for Spiderman, coming in at 75%

You’ll find purists talking about the most recent piece of the series, Far From Home, and how it could have tied in better with Avengers End Game, but parents, kids and adults in general were happy with it:

Purists may not be overjoyed about the latest brand extension of Spiderman, but other segments are

Capturing Brand Extension Ideas with Social Monitoring

And brands can do the same, creating their own multiverse of products or services that accommodate a wide range of wants and unmet needs, thanks to social listening.

Brands should look to conversations in their space to uncover ideas – and not just the top trending conversations in the general/brand conversation. Social listening is great for understanding what is happening right now, but many brands overlook important conversations that haven’t picked up steam in the general population yet.

For example, looking at some of the less trending terms that still have significant reach, whoever creates the next Spiderman movie may want to focus less on tying up the multiple storylines:

whoever creates the next Spiderman brand extension may want to focus less on tying up the multiple storylines

Though some audiences will hate that – a good amount may eat it up. And there are lots of creative ways to approach Spiderman beyond that, as this Nerdist remix demonstrates.

So – what kind of re-imaginings are a possibility for you?

No matter how long your brand has been around, social listening can help extend its life with a healthy dose of creativity. It offers an infusion of relevancy to entice any segment you set your eye on take notice. Your brand’s encore could be its kickoff instead! Reach out and we’ll show you how it’s done!

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