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I’ve seen a few Japanese anime cartoons, shorts and feature length films. Almost all were with my kids who are now teens. Anime isn’t my favorite form of cinema but I admire the creativity and clear branding. I like that they aren’t as confined as their counterparts in traditional U.S. animated storytelling. They are a great example of branding. People know what anime is, even if they’ve never seen one. They’ve heard of it, even if its not their thing. Its embedded in our American culture, even though its very Japanese. But each of the hundreds of films, cartoons, and graphic novels is somehow different. I like that I never know what is going to happen next. They’ve found the perfect balance between clear branding and unique original creativity.

Bellingham anime convention BA-Con Whatcom brandingBecause of the clarity of the brand and the variety within it, an entire industry has been built around it. That industry is supported by its vast fan community base that grows every day. Even though I’m not an anime fan myself, I love what it has done for my teens. They think the characters are interesting. I like that it gets them to branch out, listen to some Japanese language, and read more graphic novels. They have been exposed to other cultures and its even inspired them to try their hand at drawing and computer-based animation. They also connect with others over the subject at a monthly event and have listened to a wider variety of music because of it. Their social circle has widened, they’re developing more social skills, and my kids have a place where they feel comfortable and mostly accepted.

What more could a parent ask for? So not only are my kids fans, I’m a fan vicariously.

All of those positive feelings about anime and its role in community inspired me to write two articles about Bellingham Anime Convention (BA-CON). One is about the event’s founder, the incredible Bellingham Public Library Teen Services Librarian, Jennifer Lovchik for WhatcomTalk.com. The other is a Bellingham Experience Insider Blog about why the event is a perfect event for out-of-town Anime and Cosplay fans to attend.

Anime is a great marketing case study that helps us see how our product or service could build a community of followers that surrounds, supports, and benefits everyone involved. Does your product, service or event encourage community? Inspire creativity? Provide value that warrants repeated participation? Let’s think outside the box together to make sure your brand is doing all those things for your followers.