Whether you’re a casual passerby or an avid fan, you’ve definitely run across the Star Wars franchise in one way or another. After the first three movies’ success in the late 70’s, Star Wars was canonized in pop culture and passed down to generations of viewers. A decade later, a new Star Wars movie is on its way – and it’s hitting screens this December.
Beyond strategic marketing, Star Wars’ fame is anchored on impressive world-building. You could even say that its marketing strategy is greatly dependent on the universe it’s created. Can a sci-fi movie really teach us something about marketing?
Let’s list down 3 reasons why the films continue to sell to millions of fans:
1. Recruiting the Audience
Aside from George Lucas, enthusiasts have greatly contributed to the Star Wars franchise, and it’s not just in terms of their time and money. People have been helping the Star Wars universe grow and expand thanks to their dedication in creating mini-worlds. This comes in the form of numerous fan theories and spinoffs that continue to circulate through mainstream media – by building on an existing offer, fans keep the franchise alive with their own genuine interest in engaging with the work.
Businesses can learn a few things from this example by looking at how word-of-mouth from the older fans made a positive impact on Star Wars’ brand reputation. How would an old movie from several decades ago still be a hit with today’s generation if not for the recommendation of older fans? Why would older fans recommend something that they didn’t find to be of high quality? In the same way, you’ll expand your business by providing great service to your customers. By satisfying them, you’ll have them talking about you to other people, recommending your services over the competition’s.
Most of the time, there’s no need to blatantly push yourself in the audience’s faces. Subtle promotions like creating online fan pages for your business gives customers an avenue to voice feedback and concerns on their dime, increasing the chances of getting honest feedback over canned responses. Wean off forced brand promotion like click bait and empty promises. Allowing customers to develop genuine interest helps your market establish a more solid relationship with your product because they’re the ones coming to you, not the other way around.
Thus, work on building natural connections and make people more invested in your product so that you can draw in more customers. After giving them great service, your current clients can introduce you to their personal networks and gain you further exposure.
2. Counting on Content
The Star Wars films’ basic premise is one of the most common in literary history: a young man’s coming of age. Thanks to its universality, the plot resonated with a wide range of audiences. Its filmmakers added more diversity to the basic plot by weaving in variations. Plot twists and additional details made the general backdrop more exciting, making for iconic movie scenes that continue to appeal to audiences of different generations.
This, in turn, increased people’s interest in the movie. After all, if you were to keep creating the same content over and over, and in the same style, there’s not much reason for your audience to stick with you if they can find something more interesting created by the competition. Even if they’re still working within the same universe, the filmmakers were able to create new content within those restrictions, adding a unique touch to each movie so that each film had its own memorable moments.
If you want prospects to show the same loyalty to your brand, you have to focus on crafting content that matters. The simplest way to creating relevant content is by studying your audience’s interests. Though you can do this the traditional way via surveys, focused group discussions, and interviews, there’s now a simpler, more accessible way of doing so, one that can possibly even get you more genuine results: observe how your audience behaves on their social media accounts.
Providing quality content means aligning your marketing objectives to satisfy your audience, positively boosting your image as a business that values the market’s comfort above anything else. Like the Star Wars universe, take a relatable yet innovative approach with your brand. Be as relevant as you can to your market by emphasizing the benefits people can gain from your services.
3. Adapting to the Times
According to Writer’s Digest‘s Chuck Sambuchino, when it comes to creating a believable setting, you can’t afford to leave things stagnant. Your landscape and characters need to progress (or regress) over time, even if it’s just in one plot line. The Star Wars franchise has especially banked on this aspect of world-building by creating not just a bunch of interrelated movies, but an entire series. It would have been a waste to not explore the full potential of the set-up, considering how vast it was.
This expansion, as well as the branch-off into TV series and books, won the favor of those who were growing up with the movies. At the same time, the additional details from the expanded universe welcomed new fans into the franchise. In the same way that audiences quickly lose interest in being served the same story over and over, there’s not much for them to look forward to if your offer – or your approach to marketing it – stays the same, despite the changing times.
Similarly, businesses may have a specific target market in mind, but your customer demographic will constantly change as they grow older and gain new lifestyles. If you choose to keep targeting the same people you first reeled in, you’ll have to adapt, or they’ll leave your brand behind for another brand that suits their new, more relevant needs. At the same time, you have to figure out how to keep new customers or clients coming in. What was relevant during the founding of your company may be phased out within a few years’ time. It’s a delicate balance to maintain, but one that must be given proper attention in order to keep your business going.
In order to keep up with the times, research your customers’ preferences by following their latest trends or giving specific surveys. Adjust your product and overall vision accordingly.
Building the Empire
What, then, is the lifeblood of the Star Wars franchise? It would have to be its rich and ever-growing world. Both the original and subsequent films enjoy continued popularity because of a thriving creative community that keeps it alive. But they wouldn’t have that large audience if they hadn’t offered something that gave people value.
Apply some Star Wars wisdom to your own brand and encourage customer engagement with the product. Reel them in through substantial content that caters to their interests, and keep yourself updated with current trends and topics in the market.
Take some lessons from the Star Wars movies’ marketing and world-building strategies, and soon you’ll be establishing your own brand empire, getting clients and customers to join your side.
Cooper, Tristan. “6 Star Wars Fan Theories That Are Too Good Not to Be True.” Dorkly. January 28, 2015. Accessed November 17, 2015. www.dorkly.com/post/71852/star-wars-fan-theories
Handy, Bruce. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is on the Cover of Vanity Fair.” Vanity Fair. Accessed November 17, 2015. www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/05/star-wars-the-force-awakens-vanity-fair-cover
Sambuchino, Chuck “Tips on World Building for Writers — How to Make Your Imaginary World Real.” WritersDigest.com, October 8, 2014. Accessed November 17, 2015. www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/tips-on-world-building-for-writers-how-to-make-your-imaginary-world-real