Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out this Friday (actually Thursday night for true fans) and I have never been more excited for a movie. In order to channel this excitement into something mildly productive, we’ve decided to look at Star Wars through the lens of a marketer.
We also designed some sweet Star Wars emojis for Slack, which we are giving a way for free.
But first, some marketing lessons from a galaxy far, far away...
1. You have a great product, but don't get cocky!
If all your marketing is focused on how great you are, people won't care. Instead, you should focus on how great your audience could be if they had your guidance.
Think of your audience as Luke Skywalker. You are Yoda.
This is a valuable metaphor that I’ve used many times. I learned it while I was an apprentice - er, intern at Duarte. In her book Resonate, CEO, Nancy Duarte enforces, “You are the mentor. You’re Yoda, not Luke Skywalker. The audience is the one who’ll do all the heavy lifting to help you reach your objectives. You’re simply one voice helping them get unstuck in their journey."
Bob & Finn did a little puppet sketch to help spread this metaphor.
Too often, people try and market their product based on everything it can do. Instead, you should focus on what your customers can do with your product.
2. Shortcuts are the path to the Dark Side.
Most Star Wars fans don’t like the Star Wars prequels. The biggest reason why is that they look and feel nothing like the original trilogy. Instead of building elaborate sets and costumes, they took a huge shortcut and relied heavily on CGI and other cheap tricks.
After the disappointment of episodes 1, 2, and 3, it seemed as if another good Star Wars movie would never exist. But the first teaser for The Force Awakens gave everyone a new hope (pun intended). Everything looked real and authentic like the original trilogy and way less CGI than the prequels.
Disney (who owns Star Wars) could have put way less money and effort into making this film than they did, and it still would probably break box office records. But it’s clear that they want to build Star Wars brand into something that will last beyond this one movie.
When it comes to your marketing, there are plenty of ways to cut corners and do things the easy way (i.e. Fiverr). But if you want to build a truly valuable brand that will last, you have to put in the effort to making your product and your content really good.
3. Storytelling is a Powerful Ally.
While it might seem like you are seeing Star Wars stuff everywhere lately, Disney has actually spent substantially less on advertising than they might on a typical blockbuster budget. "Over-advertising the film would be a waste of money," says Robert Hackett of Fortune.
Instead, they’ve partnered with a bunch of other brands, including Verizon, Duracell, Subway, HP, General Mills, Chrysler, CoverGirl, and Max Factor. They let those companies use the Star Wars brand in exchange for fronting the advertising bill. And while it might seem like Disney is reaping all the benefits of this, the other brands are able to create awesome stories that leverage the Star Wars brand.
Anyone who is Star Wars fan thinks twice before skipping a commercial with Chewbacca in it. That’s because we love the story of Star Wars, and we’ll eat up any more of that story they throw our way. I'm pretty strong minded, but I totally fell for this Jedi mind trick.
While it's unlikely that your brand will be able to leverage the Star Wars universe, you can still leverage the power of storytelling. Doing so, will get people to pay attention to what you do.
We obviously love Star Wars. We also love using Slack. And we love emojis.
So we decided to make some custom Star Wars emojis for Slack - and now we're giving them away for free!
May the force be with you.