Star Wars – The Marketing Awakens

By Madison Taylor
December 9, 2015

Unless you’ve been living under a rock — scratch that! — even if you have been living under a rock, you’re acutely aware that there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out next week. We’re not here to sing its praises and provide it with even more marketing muscle, because it certainly doesn’t need it.

Which is entirely our point. The Star Wars juggernaut is unstoppable, a brand that is immediately recognized by people all over the globe. But even though we’re talking about what is arguably the most famous space opera of any era, it’s still been making a big marketing push. What can we learn from the movie’s marketing strategy and the Star Wars series itself? As it turns out, plenty…

Social Media is a Powerful Force

Come on… you knew we’d start off with a pun. We all know the power of social media and the new Star Wars film has proven it once more. When director J.J. Abrams took over the duties of bringing the new film to life, he utilized social media on an almost daily basis, right from the beginning. He was constantly tweeting and posting images and videos that got fans giddy with excitement. He even used the power of social media to reveal elements behind the scenes, such as his preferred use of practical effects over CGI. This is simply another example of why your company must make social media a part of your marketing strategy.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

When George Lucas decided to sell the Star Wars franchise to Disney, many people couldn’t believe it. They were skeptical of what Disney would do with their beloved brand, despite the overall disappointment of the three previous films. Luckily, Disney didn’t just want to throw out a bunch of Star Wars films and hope for the best — they took their time to truly develop the series back into a viable franchise. The fans accepted a huge change — and if that’s what your company needs, then go for it. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your marketing strategies, or even your company, when something isn’t working. You may be surprised at what happens next.

Digging into the Past Can Be a Good Thing

We touched on this above, but it deserves a little more focus. If you’ve been keeping up with the new Star Wars trailers, then you probably realize the point at which fans got really excited for the new film. We’re talking, of course, about the first time Han Solo appeared on screen since the original franchise. All these new images were great, but fans were clamoring to see their favorite heroes (and vehicles, primarily the Millennium Falcon). In the case of your company, if a marketing strategy or campaign worked for you in the past, then it may be time to brush it off and use it again. Just be sure to add something new to the mix.

Leave Them Wanting More

Do you know what we haven’t seen in the new Star Wars trailers yet? Luke Skywalker. This is perhaps the most ingenious marketing strategy taking place with the new film. Why is the main character of the original series not being featured? It seems like a no-brainer that the marketing department would want to put his face out there for everyone to see. But Abrams has brilliantly kept Luke out of the trailers, forcing fans to speculate on what role the character will have in the new story. Is he a hermit like Obi-Wan? Has he turned to the dark side? The reveal is sure to electrify the internet once the movie’s been released. Now, of course, you probably don’t want to leave anything out of your own marketing campaign, but what you can take from this is that making fans of your brand (and newcomers) wanting to know more about your products or services should always be your goal.

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It (aka, Han Shot First)

Discuss Star Wars with any fan and the question of whether Han or Greedo shot first will eventually become a topic of conversation. But the discussion isn’t really about who shot first — everyone knows the answer is Han — it’s all about why, oh why, did George Lucas decide to change a scene so that Greedo shot first after nearly twenty years? Of all the changes he’s made to the series in terms of adding special effects to his original trilogy, this is the one that infuriates people. His reasoning was that he thought Han shooting first made him a killer, but fans loved the character of Han Solo because he was rough around the edges and his story was one of redemption. Not to mention the fact that it was clearly self-defense (sorry — inner fanboy/fangirl is starting to come out!). So when it comes to your company’s marketing strategy, if something is working well, don’t go crazy with changes. Tweak what needs to be tweaked and leave everything else alone.

Have more lessons that Star Wars has taught you? Leave them in the comments below!