One of my favorite brand discovery tools is the web. Como se duh? You can go anywhere. Approach anyone. Find almost anyone. And if you have the gift of gab, a conscience and perhaps bit of wit, you can engage anyone.
Back when blogging was a thing, before Instagram, I coined a term called “Posters” to refer to people who posted original content to the web. (The obverse of Posters is Pasters, those to who paste other people’s content.) Based upon the commitment and communications ability of certain Posters they are easily findable. They also had committed followers. The first real Posters were writers, mostly for the tech press. They were pioneers that crossed the line from paper to digital. Then the unwashed writing masses joined in. Anyone with fingers could post online and hope to become a subject matter expert. Not many did.
Melting Mama was an early influencer online for research into bariatric surgery patients. Kandee Johnson became a goddess to young women on the topics of personal care and fashion. Bob Lefsetz, analyzes and loves music like few others. Emo Girl posted podcasts about teen culture. The godfather of Posters, Robert Scoble, opens new worlds in tech – living the tech, while creating daily if not hourly content. And danah boyd (lower cases) understood (and understands) online social culture like no other.
You can do quantitative research for tens of thousands of dollars and it’s a worthwhile pursuit. But for me, finding the right Posters is the quickest way to the soul of your branding challenge.