Before I attempt to answer that question let us examine what the “new” electronically driven social experience is all about. Once it is stripped of its Techno trendiness and moronic misuse its basically about the following:
- Reaching out and sharing
- Being a valuable member of a common interest group
- Generating a sense of tangible belonging and status
Well have I got news for all you addicted social media geeks who believe that you are on the leading edge of human interaction. You are not! For the Licensing Industry, the “red headed step child of the marketing mix “and the” pariah of the budget committees”, was decades if not eons ahead of all of the technocrats and well funded super smart above the line agencies in recognizing and leveraging these human needs.
The emotive drivers for the acquisition of licensed merchandise are occasioned by sociological factors. These amongst others being:
- The breakdown of the extended family
- The erosion of immigrant traditions and pride in heritage
- The weakening of spiritual affiliation and faith based values
- The migration of the population from supportive rural communities to big city anonymity
All of the above have lead individuals to seek and find a “social network” where they can belong and share their interests in a demonstrable fashion. The licensing Industry was born out of this need and has flourished ever since by providing products that reflect this shared status, knowledge and allegiance to Brands, Entertainment Icons, Sport’s franchises, et al.
So I say to you fellow licensing practitioners. What’s new? Take heart and don’t live in the shadow of the “Real marketing experts” who believe that they have just discovered these social dynamics. We saw this coming along time ago and made it work. For no matter how the message gets across, be it by text, blog, tweet, email, flyer or word of mouth, the basic equation has never changed. We all want to belong and have people around us that accept us and share our passions and interests.