A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Last December millions of fans were eagerly looking forward to the new Star Wars film. We already know one thing for sure: The Rise of Skywalker will be just another hit. What is the secret of Star Wars?
Some marketing lessons we can take from the Star Wars empire :
1. Do not change a formula for success
If you compare the first and most recent Star Wars movies, you can conclude that not much has changed at the core. With the enormous film budgets and new technology of today, much more is, of course, possible than in the past. The audio and video quality, in particular the special effects, has, therefore, had a major upgrade. But further?
Certain ingredients always come back. The iconic intro music has remained unchanged all this time. The Star Wars universe with all its peoples and planets, the Jedi and the Sith, the droids, Wookies and Storm Troopers, light swords and blasters, the air combat: it has been the same for four decades. It is not for nothing that many actors have been there since the beginning. The makers know that you should not fumble on a successful concept.
Because of all those recognizable elements, the Star Wars brand is rock solid. So do not change your company logo or slogan at all times, but look for a formula that works and stick to it. That contributes to a consistent brand experience and customer experience. And don’t be afraid to recycle good content: that quality also remains intact in a different form.
2. Apply storytelling and emotion
Star Wars is of course more than smart “fan service” and spectacular action scenes. The power of the franchise is also partly in responding to emotions. The immersive storylines, dramatic events and the eternal struggle between good and bad get you connected with the characters.
Good storytelling is also important for companies. I do not mean a list of USPs(Unique Selling Propositions), but a sincere and human story that arouses emotion with the customer. This emotional connection works better than a transparent sales story. For example, research from 2017 shows us that almost half of the millennials are more likely to buy something if they know which people are behind a brand.
3. Listen to criticism from customers
Jar Jar Binks is without a doubt one of the most hated characters in film history. The reptile-like creature played a prominent role in The Phantom Menace but was not very popular, to say the least. Many fans found Jar Jar annoying and childish. Another point of criticism was that the character would be a racist stereotype.
Star Wars creator George Lucas defended Jar Jar by saying that a small proportion of the fans do not like comic sidekicks. “The films are for children, but they do not want to admit that.” Yet the criticism was taken seriously: the fate of Jar Jar was sealed. In the following parts, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, he only sporadically came into the picture.
If you handle criticism well, it will let your loyal customers notice that you are listening to them. A difference with Star Wars is that dissatisfied fans are very loud. As a marketer, you have to set up your systems in such a way that you pick up all the signals. So not only complaints via customer service and on social media, but also website visitors who for instance drop out because of a slow site.
May the force be with you,