I watched a talk recently by Johanna Blakley (Deputy Director of USC’s Norman Lear Center) on social media and the end of gender and it really hit home. In the talk, Blakley coined the term “taste communities”. The concept is something we’ve been running with at thinktank for a while now, however, never really knew what exactly to call it, other than referring to the process we take to find them; i.e. monitoring the social media landscape to identify where your market lies.
Online communities are the mass media of the future and media agencies are trying to wrap their heads around the fact that they need to adapt the way they determine their ad rates. Ad rates are still determined on demographics, however this is a far too simplistic an approach. This is a rigid segmentation method used to understand an audience. If you fall into a demographic then they believe you like certain things, are predictable in certain way… really??? Online networking tools have enabled us to escape our demographic boxes and connect with people freely. We can now define ourselves online and connect with people based on our niched interests.
We are now moving to data driven information meaning a whole lot more available information we can capture from taste communities, apart from just demographics. We can now see what people are passionate about, what amuses them, what they love, their values and what they do in their spare time. This information is far more powerful to a brand, to connect with it’s market on an emotional level, as opposed to making simple assumptions about a person based on how old they are, their gender, race, or address.