Main Character Energy

What does it say about modern consumers? 

If you haven’t already seen it, main characters are popping up all around the globe. And what we mean by this is the viral trend towards main character energy, a phenomenon where younger audiences, in particular, are looking to romanticise their lives as if they were the main character of their own personal movie.

Examples range from taking the moment to put on a melancholy tune whilst sipping coffee in a cafe, right up to taking a more self-directed charge of social situations. It’s captivated a younger generation that has been weather-worn by societal pressures and focuses on living a life on their terms.

In fact, over half of Gen Z and Millenials already think of themselves as a ‘main character in their own life’, and feel that doing so helps them make choices that put their happiness first.

But what does that mean and how does it reflect a modern consumer?

Well at its crux, there are two main threads along this romanticised trend. The first is a core desire for autonomy. Deciding to live your life on your terms highlights a divergent quality that has characterised so many younger generations. For the ones before them, society was more centralised with less alternative ways of being.

But a modern consumer doesn’t just want alternatives that truly suit them, they’ve grown up in an environment where it’s expected- and your marketing can, and should reflect that.

But how does that look?

Incorporating elements of storytelling is a great place to start. In your copy, look to accentuate the personable elements of your brand. It’s an old idea, but with a modern resurgence, it’s still a great strategy.

And furthermore, you can reflect your users’ stories back to them, using the loose framework of main character energy. If you’re selling a product, talk to your community with a deliberate focus on finding out how it shapes their lives and then share those.

For example, if your brand is shaking up an industry, highlight that. Find the areas where people are unshackling themselves from traditional ways of doing things and celebrate how your brand is empowering that.

Celebrate good times 

Which brings us onto the other core thread woven into main character energy, which is a sense of celebration. The notion behind ‘main character energy’ is a romantic one. It’s a chance to step into appreciation for the little moments that make life more enjoyable, many of which are brought about through products.

A FMCG promoting their brand might incorporate main character energy by asking users to post how something like their morning meal is going to fuel their day. But a bookstore might weave a theme of celebration into their marketing by getting users to snap photos of them enjoying a romanticised moment reading.

For parenting brands, it’s clear. Your child growing and learning is full of blissful mini-moments, so why not get your community to celebrate them?

Writing your own story

Yasmine Sahid, a 24 year old Tik-Tok creator told the New Yorker that:

“TikTok and social media has made it more attainable for you to write your own story,” Yasmine Sahid, a twenty-four-year-old actor and TikTok creator who began making her own main-character videos last August, told me. “You can kind of cast yourself in these mini-movies.”

It’s here to stay

And further still, personalising content for your community helps reinforce that self-directed narrative. Finding the stories and products that resonate on a personal level and serving them to your users is a recipe for success.

At the end of the day, ‘main character energy’ speaks to a long-term societal evolution that is focussed on individuals and their personal experiences. It’s a change that is unlikely to revert back, so it’s smart to focus your efforts around adapting your marketing to reflect that.

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