Kevin Smith Shows The Importance Of Building A Brand As A Part Of CwF+RtB
from the smoderrific dept
For quite some time, we’ve used Kevin Smith as an interesting example of someone who seems to really grasp the whole CwF+RtB (Connect with Fans + Reason to Buy) concept that we focus on in explaining how to create success models (not just “business” models) these days. And while some may tire of hearing about the same person over and over again, as with Trent Reznor, Smith seems to keep doing more and more interesting experiments that really fit in with the general concept, and from which there’s plenty to learn.
From early on Smith has embraced his fans, like very few others out there. He had set up a very active message board well over a decade ago, and has always been incredibly open with his fans. Of course, it’s not just about talking to your fans, but doing interesting things with them (and, at the same time, opening up opportunities for those fans to support you in a variety of ways — not just monetarily). We’ve talked about how he’s branched out way beyond being a “filmmaker” to being an overall entertainer with a bunch of podcasts that presented lots of opportunities to practice CwF+RtB, called the Smodcast Network. A few months ago, he took it even further by starting his own internet radio, called Smodcast Internet Radio — or SIR.
And, the latest is that he’s teamed up with Topspin — a company we’ve obviously talked about a lot, though mostly in the music space — and totally relaunched his site that shows off a variety of CwF+RtB elements. You can see the whole thing at Smodcast.com. There’s a premium “subscription” offering that provides additional benefits for true fans, though all the basic content is still available for free. There are ways to get tickets to live shows and other events. There’s greater interaction on the website, allowing greater connections both between Smith and the various other folks involved with Smodcast/SIR, as well as between community members themselves. Separately, it also does a nice job showing off the fact that Topspin’s platform works for way more than just music.
But I think one of the really key points is brought out in a blog post about this by Bob Moczydlowsky (bobmoz, to most folks) at Topspin about this offering:
But look past the offers and focus on the strategy: This site is more than podcasts and a fan club. Notice the brand name atop it all: SModCo. This is step one of a filmmaker-comedian-podcaster-talk-radio-host getting his house in order for the new day rising. Notice Kevin?s Twitter following. Look at the footer on the site.
I think this is an important point that often gets lost in all of these discussions. We’ve talked about the importance of actually understanding the deeper strategies rather than just focusing on the superficial cargo cult side of things. People who brush aside Smith’s efforts as “it’s just a podcast” or “he’s just sitting around and talking” are missing the larger picture. They’re seeing the surface, but missing the depth. This isn’t just a guy talking. There’s a larger strategy (one that is improvisational, but coming together nicely) here, and it’s built around a brand — a brand that is 100% focused on connecting with fans while still giving them plenty of reasons to support him. As Smith is fond of saying, this is about being where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been. If you’re not paying attention (or if you don’t think this is a big deal), you’re missing something big.