Hipster PR 101

The hipster market is massive and extremely profitable, but hard to penetrate and succeed in. This market is untapped by many brands because they approach this target with standard marketing efforts. If you’re unfamiliar, a “hipster” is defined by the Urban Dictionary as a person in their 20s or 30s that values counter-culture, independent thinking, progressive politics, an appreciation of art, indie-rock, creativity, witty banter and craft beers. I added in that last one, but it is true! I could add a long list of hipster stereotypes such as rides a bike, vegetarian, has  a beard and pseudo activist, but I digress. What is true about this group, is many of them have large disposable incomes which good news for marketers.

Many Millennials are hipsters, but not all so these groups cannot be targeted the same. The most important thing to remember about hipsters is they are extremely loyal. They are loyal to their favorite beers, dive bars, shoe brands, and restaurants. The few items they consume and brands they support are personal and essential parts of their lives. Acquiring them as customers is good for long term profits, but also growth as they are the best brand ambassadors. Their loyalty means your marketing will be rejected because they are not switchers. But immersing your product into their culture will work.

The best way to tap the hipster market is by doing “anti-marketing”. Anti-marketing is getting your product in front of people in a seemingly natural way. Basically, make your product fit into their life and their surroundings without it standing out too much. As aforementioned, hipsters are anti-mainstream. Of course the funny irony is that being a hipster now is mainstream. Hence, me writing this blog post about it. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful and effective marketing method for this demographic. As you know, word-of-mouth is natural and cannot be forced. Forcing to this group is mainstream marketing.

What is mainstream to hipsters, TV spots and radio ads. Viral and experiential marketing are much more effective methods with this group. For this group, social media marketing efforts have to be amplified. The key here is to realize that it must be conversational, fun, uncommon, and not corporate. This feel is difficult for many brands to achieve, but it is possible with the right social media strategist and community manager.

Hipsters are the “tipping point” of popular culture. They take frivolous and unknown things and make them trendy and contagious. The best examples I can give you are Hush Puppies and PBR. Both of those brands used anti-marketing and their brand appeal spread like wild fire through word-of-mouth, experiences, and consumer immersion. Don’t target this group with the hope your brand will become the next big thing because it will backfire. Saying your brand is cool, won’t make it cool (revisit my “Let Your Customers Define You” post). Hipsters are attracted to cool innovations, products, and ideas and will tell their friends about it. Be natural, be welcoming, drop the traditional marketing tactics….It’s Hipster PR 101.


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