As a graphic designer who dabbles in marketing and branding, I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration.
I never thought I’d find it watching GoT, but the more I studied the plot and characters, the more I realized that it had more in common with solid marketing principles than I had previously thought.
The following assumes you are a fan of Game of Thrones, and have at least watched through Season 3 of the HBO series. If you meet neither of these criteria, read at your own risk.
Allow me to share some of those insights with you, which can be applied to any industry or business:
1. You better have a badass logo
Look at the Targaryen’s banner, with it’s three-headed dragon. Or House Lannister, with a golden lion. Badass, right?
Now compare that with the Greyjoy’s banner…for all their tough talk, their coat of arms is an upside down octopus thing. Oh, my bad, it’s supposed to be a kraken.
Anyway, the point is, when your logo is well done, it commands attention and respect. When it’s done poorly, everyone chuckles behind your back.
Because it’s just hard to take an octopus seriously.
When your logo is good, it commands attention and respect. Click To Tweet
2. Your tagline better be good too
“Winter is coming.” Famous and formidable. “Fire and blood.” Nice. “Growing strong…” Wait, what? At least the Tyrells have a cute flower to go along with it.
Your tagline should capture, in essence, what you’re all about. It should be short and sweet, but not too full of yourself (here’s looking at you, Lannisters).
People will look to your tagline to see what you’re offering, and if it falls short, they will either be confused or turned off by your business.
3. Don’t piss off your customers
Remember that scene where King Joffrey is cruising through town, and the commoners throw dung at him? His well balanced and carefully thought-out reaction: “Kill them all!” Which I think went over extremely well.
Lesson learned: pay attention to your customers, they are the life blood of your business. Literally.
Without customers, you’d be out of business, just like the King would be out of a kingdom without loyal subjects. If something amiss happens, take care of it quickly and graciously.
Whatever you do, don’t start chopping off people’s heads. It’s bad PR.
4. Brand loyalty is big
In case you haven’t noticed, as things heat up, everyone takes a side.
House so-and-so aligns with King-so-and-so, etc. But if someone switches sides? Watch out.
And so it is with brand loyalty.
Once your customers pick a brand, they tend to stick with it unless there’s a good reason to switch. So if that’s not you, and you’re the new guy in town, you better give them a good reason to risk treason and come over to your side. Just sayin’.
Once your customers pick a brand, they tend to stick with it. Click To Tweet
5. Reputation is everything
King Slayer. That happened what, like 20 years ago? And that’s still Jaime’s nickname, he can’t seem to shake it.
Your reputation as a company will always precede you, especially today with social media and online reviews.
And once your reputation is tarnished, it’s nearly impossible to restore again. There are whole companies that specialize in rebuilding one’s reputation; that’s how fragile and valuable it is.
It can take years to build up trust and a good name, but only seconds to tear it back down again, so be wary. And watch your back.
Your reputation as a company will always precede you. Make sure it's good. Click To Tweet
6. Repeat the message
Say you’ve just—finally—killed or caught your enemies. A raven is sent. But that won’t do.
Bits of body parts are also sent. A clear message.
Likewise, your customers need to hear things twice, or sometimes even three or four times before they’ll get it. Or maybe they got it the first time, but good marketing is about repetition for good measure.
Repeating something breeds familiarity, builds credibility, and keeps you fresh in mind. It also shows that you mean business.
7. When in doubt, give something away
Daenerys, once given the power over a whole slave army, simply gives them their freedom. For nothing.
And in return they give her their loyalty and undying love.
When you do amazing things and go out of your way for your fans, they usually respond favorably. The more outlandish the gift, the stronger the response.
So the next time you want to score brownie points, lavish your customers with some lovin’.
What about you?
Are there any shows that you draw life lessons from? Other design/marketing/branding principles that Game of Thrones can teach us? Where have you found unconventional wisdom?