Flipping the coin on our first post regarding SxSw, I’d like to discuss how many brands have taken note of the minimal overhead involved in the enormous returns internet fame can draw. Companies like Golden Grahams and Levi’shave developed campaigns using the same low-cost web-based media and everyman voice to convey their full-scale brand. One of the major challenges for major brands, like Levi’s to effectively bottle up this process, is understanding what separates the initial success everyman voice of their target audience. This success is dependent upon membership and speaking universally for a niche community that has contained their “otherness” into an even smaller snow globe for reference, much like the 3rd dream level in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010).
Brands have years of experience approaching their target audience from the outside looking in, yet the internet has elevated the skill and importance of individuals looking into their own communities, residing inherently in a diametrically opposed self-contained and democratic space. In the process, these communities have built up a trained resistance to and acute awareness of outside injection. Many brands have unsuccessfully attempted to plant the seed in the second dream level through adopting the tools and methods used within the culture of nano-celebrities, even by shelling out for rights to use an established meme. While some have fallen on deaf ears, many companies have begun to effectively package this process by eagerly embracing their opposite. Brand Managers of the past have become Brand Ambassadors recruited directly from their target audience, while Brands have embraced the value of pointing and laughing at themselves.