Self-awareness is tricky, especially in pop culture. It creates both paradoxes and unique challenges for content creators. Is total originality a dying art? After all, even “new” television and movie media make constant use of cultural references to drive home a point. (Think Family Guy.)
Originality isn’t dead. It has just evolved beyond simple creation. Life is now meta.
What is Meta?
Recycling, remixing and riffing are now seen as legitimate forms of creative expression. An understanding of this phenomenon has lead to a rise in self-aware or “meta” content. Some examples of this type of content are Intel’s Rockstar’s campaign, the Windows 7 Launch video and the Toyota Tacoma WoW tie in. The most common usage of meta content is video but it recently has been spreading to a variety of other mediums.
But does it work?
Yes, but not always in the way that you would think. Meta comes from a conversational approach to content. It’s a living, breathing organism that can’t be boxed off from commenting, remixing or engagement with an audience.
Often, some of the most successful meta content calls attention to the lameness or ridiculousness of their premise. Self-deprecation has helped spawn some of the Internet’s funniest memes, so why can’t it spur on your marketing?
Can meta approaches work in a community setting?
They have to. Calling attention to an “inside joke” from a community not only leads to a feeling of solidarity but is more likely to convert. Think of it as hyper-contextualized content for your audience. You aren’t going after regions anymore; you are going after individual ip’s.
What can meta do for your marketing?
A meta approach to marketing is necessary for any community based approach. If you aren’t self aware and in-tune with your community’s idiosyncrasies? How can you expect to engage them effectively? The simple answer: You can’t.
A meta sensibility allows for a fair amount of ridiculousness.
What if it fails?
You run the risk of failure with any marketing program. A meta approach to marketing is no different. Stray to far into a niche and you risk alienating the majority of your community. If you keep the content too broad and you run the risk of mediocrity.
The same is true with self deprecation. Pointing out your weaknesses can be risky (especially from a brand perspective) and backfire. You won’t earn the respect of your customer base if you don’t try though.
Now it’s your turn: What’s the best example of meta-marketing (or content) you have seen?
Image Source: brendan aanes