A Cigar Community Question from a Colloquial Perspective: Are Virtual Cigar Smoking Experiences (Still) the Future?
A pandemic that struck an unprepared global community in the beginning of last year is changing the way we see life as we know it, yet we’re not sure if this newfound perspective derived from a forced adaptation will sustain.
Now, this article has a peculiar focus: the considerable shift towards direct online marketing for the cigar community. It’s important to note that every single component that is actively manifested towards the general public is considered marketing (for this article’s purpose), regardless of John Doe streaming live with no pecuniary aspiration and is just giving his thoughts on why any given robusto toro belicoso grande is smoking the way it is, or why he’d hurry to buy all cigars from that brand’s portfolio.
Instagram has been around for a decade or so while Facebook has lived for almost two, and never in their lifespan had we seen a fraction of the exposure and collective active-participation of the cigar community as whole on their respective platforms.
This is not saying in any way that these mechanisms haven’t been amazing engagement tools for both the consumers and brands, but certainly not at the rate we’ve experienced in the last year. Everyone was home for longer periods than they had been, and this meant that the desired targets for whatever content was being funneled was more attractive than ever. These concepts have already peaked and things are slowly going to deviate back to normal, so, what now?
Some of the concepts that took significant relevancy during the pandemic and are now “trends”:
- Instagram Live Sessions
- Virtual Smoking Herfs via Zoom
- Virtual Shoppable Events
Fad, trend, or an actual shift?
Here’s the deal: brands and their representatives are participating, from the director of sales to the production manager at a factory, and more noticeably, the brand owners themselves. The evident circumstance here is not to question these appearances as ways to market or to entertain the public, but more so the uncertainty on what these will represent to the brands moving forward.
We ask ourselves, will this be a fad, trend, or an actual shift? We’d love to hear our community’s opinion, but we believe it’s a little bit of all three. It’s a fad because it took some continued initiatives from certain people to really get these structures going, and while a lot of participants were carrying a solid and fundamental approach, others were just tagging along, and that won’t last much itself. It’s a trend because no matter how good or bad the engagements were, it was (fairly) expected for everyone to hop-in and take advantage of these tools at some point, which will only show with time.
Lastly and most significantly, it really is a shift because no matter how substantial or inconsequential the impact disposed, brands realized that even through the global catastrophe we have undergone and are actually still experiencing, the online world has been designed to keep us connected.
It’s not necessarily the future, because cigars are meant to be shared in person, and no matter the virtual connection established, people will want to shake the brand representative’s hand and feel personally associated to that loyalty created when Carlos Fuente, Litto Gomez, Ernesto Perez Carrillo, or any other industry figure shows up at their local shop for an event.