What can marketers learn from vampires?

Last week I visited with Jack Pan, EVP of Marketing for Summit Entertainment, the producers of the highly popular Twilight movie series. The vampire characters in these movies have generated a passionate following among young women. The official Facebook page for The Twilight Saga alone has 20 million fans and there are millions of others following other related fan sites (an Italian language fan site has more than 21 million fans!).

I asked Jack for his perspective on how Summit built such a large, passionate fan base. He simply said that the stories connect with a genuine human emotion and that the movies always deliver what the fans expect. While I had expected an answer that revealed the secret magic of vampires or some unique social media strategy, what I got was an answer that can be applied by all marketers. First understand the emotion that your brand or product connects to, be it love, fear, joy or something else. Second, consistently deliver an experience that delights the audience and makes them want to return.

This is much easier to say than it is to do. Yet I see many marketers who are focused on building their social media connections and don’t take this simple formula into account. They get focused on the tactics of driving bigger numbers and spend little time understanding why fans really like them or follow them. Without this understanding the ongoing interaction through social media could easily miss the mark, and instead of deepening the relationship could marginalize it.

Which brands are engaging with you in a way that reflects a solid understanding of your human nature and your experience expectations? Anyone doing it as well as the vampires?