For those not familiar with Wil Wheaton and TableTop, an IndieGoGo campaign launched on International TableTop Day to raise $500,000 to fund a third season of his TableTop web series. Funders blew past that target, eventually pledging over $1.4 million, making the campaign the most successful one for a video series in IndieGoGo history.
Here’s how branding comes into play in both of these. Wil Wheaton is widely known within the pop culture community (I just cannot bring myself to call it geek or nerd culture), with an active blog, Tumblr, web series, and over 2.5 million followers on Twitter. Over the years, he has built up this following by saying, writing and doing things that his followers find interesting. A Tweet like “Loud. Noises” gets 131 retweets and 400 likes. Let me emphasize that. A two word Tweet from Wil Wheaton gets 400 likes and it’s not even anything like “KINGS WIN”. People know what to expect from Wheaton and TableTop and gladly gave money to make it happen. That’s the power of the Wheaton brand. If someone without Wheaton’s name recognition had launched a similar campaign, offering similar rewards and stretch goals, likely it would have failed because the lack of name recognition means backers would have little idea what they would get with their money.