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Transforming Fan Engagement into Campaign Content

Through the power of social media, brands have the ability to form direct connections with their fanbase, and engagement with the community serves as a great resource for content campaigns. Join Funimation’s Marshall Wright, Crunchyroll’s Mary Franklin, and MomoCon’s Jess Merriman for a discussion on how to transform fan engagement and stories into impactful year-round digital content.

About the Speakers

Jessica Merriman

Jessica Merriman co-founded MomoCon, a now-31,000 person animation and gaming festival, while still an undergraduate at Georgia Tech and has overseen its development all the way through to today. In addition to being the organizer for MomoCon, she has also consulted at other events ranging from 1000 people to 80,000 people. Jess is an accomplished speaker and event planner with over 14 years of hands on experience. She holds a M.S. of Computer Information Systems and has been involved with events from 20 to 80,000 people, providing organizational and consulting services. She is passionate about making sure attendees have a fun, memorable experience, and knows that a convention is more than a business: it’s a community.

Marshall Wright

A customer-centric marketing leader, Marshall heads up the Audience Development team at Funimation where his team works passionately to celebrate the diversity of the global anime community through dank anime memes. Marshall knows how to define a big-picture vision and roadmap to reach a desired outcome, and then deliver know-how to make the vision a reality. The result is a track record managing complex solutions that enable personalized, omnichannel, direct-to-consumer digital marketing programs through organizational transformation and change management. At the daily frontlines of fan interaction, Marshall has built and managed an international team of social media experts that has built a global social footprint exceeding 35MM fans and followers.

Before joining Funimation, he led digital and social brand strategy teams at Capital One.

He began his career before social media was a ‘thing’ working in broadcast television at Tribune Entertainment creating digital experiences and building online communities for devoted Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans. From there, Marshall transitioned to agency life where he spent over a decade developing the Connections practice – a core capability designed to deliver results-focused solutions utilizing brand storytelling across owned, earned, and paid media. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter @marshallwright.

Mary Franklin

Mary Franklin is the Head of Events for Crunchyroll, the world’s most popular anime brand with more than 70 million registered users and over three million subscribers. In this role, Franklin is responsible for driving the overall events strategy for the platform, including the execution and operation of more than 20 domestic events and Crunchyroll’s yearly flagship convention Crunchyroll Expo.

A veteran in the fan event space, Franklin joins Crunchyroll from ReedPOP, where she led Comic Con teams outside North America, as well as the team that produces Star Wars Celebration in cooperation with Lucasfilm. In the global arena, Franklin led Comic Con launches in Vienna, Jakarta, Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, South Africa, and Seoul.

Prior to ReedPOP, Franklin spent fourteen years at Lucasfilm, where she was Head of Events & Fan Relations, and the Lucasfilm lead on Celebration. Referring to the fan festival as Lucasfilm’s “Love letter to Star Wars fans,” Franklin cares passionately about creating events that are milestones for attendees. Lucasfilm recruited her from the fan community after following her leadership in one of the first Star Wars online fan-run organizations.

In addition to events and fan relations, Franklin has enjoyed careers as a professional cowhand, commercial fishing boat deckhand, bartender, and weight training instructor, as well as a stint in Antarctica working with penguins.