If you have a little girl, you may know the tv show My Little Pony. It’s a candy colored world where ponies named “Twilight Sparkle” rein. It’s all happiness and light. What’s strange is My Little Pony has built, quite unexpectedly, a large fan base of boys. They even have a name, Bronys and they adore the show.
So, that’s a strange, cute cultural story but there is a great business angle as well. Maegaret Loesch, president of Hub, the channel that broadcasts My Little pony is taking a brilliantly subtle approach to the bronys.
“We haven’t driven this movement, the fans have, and we don’t want to get, ahead of that,” Loesch said. “We want to nourish this phenomenon, not manipulate it.”
It’s such a great understanding of a fan driven phenomena. If you were to try and exploit this movement, you would kill it. Feed the phenomena, as Loesch says, and you keep it healthy.
My second favorite quote comes from one of the Bronys.
“Hasbro and the Hub are very aware of the community,” Cuyno said. “They don’t need to gear the show toward us, but they know we’re out here. We feel included.”
First great thing, the companies involved are aware and plugged into the community. Hats off for great listening and paying attention. Second great thing, finding a way to serve this community without tampering with the original concept. It doesn’t take much really and they are not asking for anything. The smallest little easter egg can make a community like this really happy. They feel included. That’s the magic, right there.
The power of the Internet and it’s increasing social connections is creating small communities of like-minded people every day around all kinds of things, products and services. It is paramount for any business today to find, know and understand these communities. Listen first and tread carefully. Use a very subtle approach as Hub has. A little recognition and encouragement goes a long way.