It’s easy, almost instinctual, to dismiss highly impactful pop culture as just that, pop culture. Marketers, however, know better. Studios release hundreds of films each year, but very few ascend to the cultural height of Star Wars. Why is that? Or, better yet, what is it about Star Wars that makes it such a sticky staple in the American movie canon? It’s an expansive question; one that its fans will debate enthusiastically. What’s not debatable is that Star Wars is packed with insights for many in the business world–especially for marketers looking to capture consumer Zeitgeist.
Here are three lessons marketers can learn from Star Wars.
One of the greatest accomplishments of the Star Wars brand has been in its ability to remain relevant nearly 40 years after the release of the original film. Few brands stick around long enough to become household names the likes of Coke, Ford, or Hershey. Film success is at least as fleeting, and yet, Star Wars remains one of the most resonant cultural phenomena in history.
Marketers who are able to evolve while staying relevant to its core consumers have the best chance of not only longevity, but long-term loyalty.
Making more with less
The original Star Wars was produced with a tight budget relative to other Hollywood films at the time. However, Lucas stretched those scant zeros farther than most, and the payoff is evident. The nugget here, for marketers, is how Lucas took his thin budget as far as he did. Using a combination of props and practical effects, Lucas was able to not only complete his film, but also realize a tangible world on a scale that was atypical to moviegoers. Even the latest film, The Force Awakens, managed to galvanize legions of fans around the world on a relatively lean marketing budget.
Budget is among marketers’ top constraints, especially in today’s climate. Marketers who rethink budget allocation, embracing new ways to connect with and engage consumers, may find their dollars going further.
Making meme worthy content
Memes are a crucial component of modern Internet culture, and as some of the most viral content on the Web, remain considerably valuable to marketers. Beer brand Dos Equis, the ALS Association, and rapper Drake stand as a few of the most prominent examples of successful memeification. Star Wars is a titanic force of meme, even among such company.
Like few other movies, Star Wars sells fans on the authenticity of its world through captivating visuals, electric characters, and deeply compelling stories. The confluence of these factors makes for a world that fans easily envision themselves a part of; a world they want to bring friends and loved ones into, as well. This is largely done through user generated content and memes. Marketers can encourage consumers to create meme around their brands, perhaps even through association with pop culture icons such as Star Wars—and potentially drive engagement and loyalty within their own customer base.