Winter is coming – yes, I said it – but only the well-prepared will survive in today’s competitive business world. It’s Sunday night, and you can already hear that iconic theme music in your head: It’s Game of Thrones time. Over 10 million viewers gather around the TV on Sunday evenings, wondering what scandalous fate falls upon Jon Snow, Daenerys, Cersei or the rest of our beloved (sometimes hated) Game of Thrones clan this week. Hitting its seventh season, the show has mastered the art of public perception and intrigue, drawing in a loyal fan base ripe with curiosity.
So how does TV’s powerhouse continue to garner new dedicated fans and build its ultra-successful brand? Check out these three brand-building lessons PR folks can learn from GoT:
Differentiate your Brand
What makes Game of Thrones so damn appealing? Well, it’s smart, it’s intriguing and it challenges us. It builds upon deep character and plot development, setting the stage for mind-blowing scenes and building up mind-blowing storylines. It’s never boring, and most importantly, it doesn’t offer a carbon-copy plot line like many other shows on TV today.
PR Lesson: Over-saturation is a challenge almost every industry faces, so brand differentiation is key. Standing out in the crowd begins with establishing a strong vision for your company – what sets you apart from your competitors? Craft your stories strategically to appeal to your target audience and demonstrate what makes your company unique to keep your audience wanting more.
Craft an Engaging, Original Storyline
Diving into uncharted waters is the bread and butter of Game of Thrones’ success. After each season, viewers comment on how shocking each episode was – Red Wedding, anyone? (Still recovering? Me too.)
PR Lesson: Fashion a charismatic storyline. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Often, PR professionals fall into the trap of offering already-existing insight, but readers want new trends, advice and analysis. Find out what your client can offer that is new, maybe even controversial (okay, but maybe not as controversial as these insane GoT plot twists), and use this as a foundation to build a juicy storyline untold by the media.
Leverage your Audience
Garnering over 1.8 million fans on social media in the past 90 days, Game of Thrones’ brilliance lies in understanding the power of word of mouth. After each new episode, social media and, well, the internet in general, is inundated with GoT chatter. Every Monday morning, the hottest article on BuzzFeed is most always Game of Thrones related.
PR Lesson: Employ the power of your audience. Once you’ve built your media foundation and know your target audience, combine your PR and social media efforts to boost awareness. Not only do consumers trust the opinions of their social media networks, but the shelf life of media coverage can be extensively increased through a social post to reengage your audience and optimize your reach.
Establishing brand awareness in your industry begins with understanding your audience and operating on a thorough, unique, well-planned media strategy. Odds are you’re a Game of Thrones fan, so next time you’re writing a media pitch or crafting a strategy plan, think of these lessons from your favorite fantasy drama.