As brands in the digitoral era, social media influencers drive audience interaction like never before. There is no better place to connect with these influencers than VidCon, an annual gathering of internet celebrities and those aspiring for influencer greatness. Hasbro, the company responsible for brands like Transformers and My Little Pony, understands the importance of these internet superstars.
“What we’re seeing in marketing in general right now is, brands used to tell consumers what brands are—now consumers are telling consumers,” Victor Lee, Hasbro’s senior vice president of digital marketing, told [a]listdaily in an interview. “Influencers have such an incredible relationship with their fan base and that’s important. We’d like to have and we do have that authentic relationship with our fan base.
“When you take a look at all of our gaming brands, some [of which] span 80 years, that’s the relationship that we’ve had with our product and our fans. The relationship that influencers have with their fans . . . we’re on the same side. So that’s how we kind of measure we who and how and what we do with influencers.”
Like a story told around the campfire, products can become modern-day legends if the right influencer shares the tale. The story itself, Lee explains, is not up to the brand, but the consumers themselves and it’s important to listen. “Consumers will use or play your brand in a way that naturally gives the story,” said Lee.
The company’s Hasbro Gaming initiative introduces brands that parents grew up on to a new generation, from board games to hit TV shows. From deciding who gets to be the hat in Monopoly to which Autobot is their favorite, families and friends are able to share memories and create new ones together with the same brands, generation after generation.
“A lot of people would think of us as a manufacturer,” Lee says. “We’re not—we’re storytellers.”