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  • Personal Branding Cosplay

    book-fair-678264_640Every year, San Diego opens its doors to the nerds of the world with the world famous San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). A weekend long gathering of movie stars, comic book artists and the fans that adore them, it has grown in size so much that major movie corporations save special movie previews to release just at the event alone.

    Yet even with all the media hype, there’s a subsection of goers that like to enjoy the convention dressed up as their favorite characters. Each year, cosplayers, as they are known, come dressed in costumes they’ve been working on for sometimes a year or more. Ranging in beautiful detail to tongue in cheek humor, many have actually forged careers off of their ability to create realistic looking costumes based off of their own personal flair and brand.

    The Magic Touch

    How does a cosplayer create a brand when they dress up as other people? The answer to this question is far from easy to answer. Where some women make a habit of always putting their chest on display no matter what the actual costume is supposed to look like, others have honed their craft to be able to add intricate, realistic detail to everything they build. Bigger operations often employ an entire group of people so as to create a costume that has the best of everything. Newer cosplayers tend to go for the easier costumes while trying to add a little humor so they can stand out from the crowd.

    However, the entire brand doesn’t sit with just the cosplayers at the convention. In fact, the best continue their show year round through Instagram and Twitter. Here, through social media, they keep their names in the spotlight. Current fans get excited as they post costume evolution while those newer to the fan base can quickly and easily learn what these stars of the nerd world are about. For this, though, it is extremely important to have a good camera and to actually have decent looking costumes. Otherwise, it will not garner the type of respect that increases attention.

    Background Effects

    As stated earlier, the vast majority of professional cosplayers treat their hobby as a profession. Knowing they can’t do it all alone, they enlist the help of other talented individuals to help make the outfits a reality. Once crafted, it’s then off to have makeup professionally applied and pose through a photoshoot with a professional photographer. After all, most fans are more than happy to pay for prints of these photos.

    It’s this back end work that really creates the brand. At a convention, like the San Diego Comic Con, you are only one of tens of thousands of other cosplayers who are as good as or better than you. On the internet, you have the power to have a unique voice backed by a personality, a color scheme and, more importantly, a business model.

    Beyond the Costume

    Featuring key players of comics, movies or cartoon shows that are popular, audience members are treated to intimate discussions followed by a question and answer section where audience members have the chance to ask anything they want. Often times, these panels will also feature new movie previews or sneak peeks at future content regarding the topic of the panel. This year, the biggest release was the upcoming Wonder Woman trailer, though Marvel certainly had its fair share of announcements. Other dominant topics revolved around the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers reboot and the smash hit game Pokémon GO!

    As a cosplayer, you also have the opportunity to have a voice in the convention.  You can also be featured on a panel if you’re able to show how you cosplay in a way that’s authentic to the original character and to your personality.  I’ve seen great cosplays of Wonder Woman yet formatted in a fashion mirroring Dia de los Meurtes .

    Conventions are a fantastic way to bring together a community of people that share love for similar things. Because of this, people come from all over the world, paying thousands of dollars just to experience this collection of nerdy ideas just once. Whether they choose to show off their love of a franchise by carefully crafting a costumer or simply by partaking, the San Diego Comic Con remains one of the top destinations for nerds everywhere to attend in summer. Every year it has seen growth and future years look just as bright.

    Maria Elena Duron is a Marketing Coach and Strategist with Know, Like, + Ignite and @mariaduron on Twitter. Would you like practical tips to create and curate content and experiences worthy of being passed person-to-person? -Get exclusive access.

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