Three Lessons Every Marketer Can Learn From GoT

Three Lessons Every Marketer Can Learn From GoT

By Hilarina Casie Chitty

Game of Thrones (GoT) might officially be over (no spoilers here in case you’re planning a binge-watch) but fans are still talking about the massively popular television show from George R. R. Martin’s bestselling book series. What if your marketing communications campaign generated similar hype?

As a GoT fan and a marketing communicator, I know a day in the life of a marketer can sometimes feel like a medieval fantasy with white walkers and dragons in your way. That may be a bit dramatic, but every marketer has challenges to overcome when implementing a marketing campaign. From ensuring “behind-the-scenes” communications run smoothly before the launch of a campaign to meeting fiery deadlines, marketing communicators have a lot to manage in their realm. So, here are three lessons from GoT that will help you prepare your next big marketing crusade, along with examples from some of the most effective and iconic campaigns.

  1. “Winter is coming.”

The popular motto of House Stark – one of the great houses of Westeros – reminds us that preparation is key. When Dove launched its famous “Real Beauty” campaign, they started by asking motorists if they thought the models on a series of billboards were “fat or fit?” or “wrinkled or wonderful?” This got consumers thinking about their stereotypes and spurred interaction with the brand via sharing the campaign’s message and initiating conversations on social media about female beauty. The full-on campaign with press ads to television commercials followed to get this successful campaign going full speed, but it was the prep from the early billboard campaign that set the stage.

  1. “Every flight begins with a fall.”

When Brandon Stark was severely injured from a fall from the tower at Winterfell, he didn’t see a purpose for living. However, he later tells the guy who pushed him that he wouldn’t be who he became if it had not happened and ends up being a key figure in the storyline.

It’s okay to start as an underdog as long as you learn from previous experiences. When Apple first launched its computers, no one was familiar with the Mac in comparison to the well-known PC. What did Apple do? They took their initial failure coupled with learnings from marketing iPods to younger audiences and started the Mac vs. PC debate with the “Get a Mac” campaign. Apple had record-breaking sales that year. Today, the iMac needs no introduction.

  1. “Never forget what you are. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”

This was advice shared between two GoT powerful personalities Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow. I’d go a step further and say that when you remember who and what you are, you are at your best. In your marketing communication plan, embrace your brand identity. When Volkswagen wanted to increase its sales in the U.S., the car manufacture faced a next-to-impossible task. They were trying to sell small German cars to Americans who had the tendency to purchase big American cars. Instead of shying away from this fact, they embraced it by encouraging audiences to “Think Small.” As a result of being honest about who they were, the campaign not only helped increase their sales but also positively changed the perception of the company’s brand.

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