Star Wars and the Force Behind Their Marketing Campaign

November 24, 2015

11:11 am

Star Wars is a towering brand with lasting cultural significance. It is loved worldwide by millions, and easily among the most successful film franchises of all time. Yet even established franchises need a carefully managed public relations and promotion campaign. The buzz for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is at a fever pitch, and this can be attributed to a lot of hard work and some clever marketing stunts – even Google is getting in on the action. These building-block efforts are applicable to entrepreneurs and businesses of any size.

Cross-Promote Your Brand

The Star Wars marketing and public relations campaign has proven successful by every measurable effectiveness metric. They have impressively managed to cross-promote and simultaneously release multiple related projects on a variety of platforms. It’s no coincidence that Disney Infinity: 3.0 is Star Wars themed, nor should it be surprising that Star Wars: Battlefront was carefully timed to release one month before the film hits theaters. The Star Wars toy marketing alone is staggering. Action figures, coloring books, and an active television show all provide alternative pathways to generate hype among existing fans and bring a new generation of enthusiasts to the franchise.

The important point to remember is that you should never put all of your eggs in one basket. The more you branch out, the more ways your brand can be found. This is evidenced clearly by the traditional one-two punch of early release novel tie-ins and the film that follows a month or two later. Diversify your marketing portfolio. Consider sending a few hundred white-clad Stormtroopers overseas to demonstrate how marketing savvy you are.

Sometimes Less Is More

The new Star Wars film has been shrouded in secrecy, and it has resulted in an aura of mystery. Little snippets have been released in addition to the two main trailers, intensifying speculation and examination. Vanity Fair’s Star Wars photoshoot presented us with several new characters and creatures that we know nothing about. In this case, it is not that they have limited what they have cross-promoted or presented to fans. The devil is in the details – details that are particularly and intentionally sparse.

Use Existing Buzz

Not all of the marketing campaigns related to Star Wars are strictly carried out by Disney. The buzz has already been generated, and that leaves an opportunity available. By using trending news, you can inject yourself in the existing conversation. This can take the form of offering commentary or creating content specifically for your niche. In either case, capitalizing on the marketing of others can demonstrate the effectiveness of a fully armed and operational marketing campaign.

Listen to Your Audience

For any longtime fan of Star Wars, watching the trailers and television ads for the new film will stir up powerful nostalgia. For many of us, Episodes I – III did not manage to capture the same feeling as the original trilogy. Some have criticized them as being too far removed in tone and physicality. Indeed, one of the selling points by director J.J. Abrams is that the series is returning to practical effects and physical sets. Much of the prequels relied upon green screens and CGI, a practice that resulted in not a single prop suit of Clone Trooper armor being constructed despite hundreds appearing between Episodes II and III.

J.J. Abrams directly addressed the concerns and criticisms of the past films, and has seemingly found a way to balance them. Rather than working in reverse to try and recreate the magic in a prequel, Star Wars is following directly in the footsteps of that original 1977 legacy. The characters, setting, theme, and sense of wonder from the original trilogy all appear to be present. The reaction was positive and nearly immediate. Star Wars has been trending for months on Twitter, proving that the message was received loud and clear.

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David Kirby is an Editor at The Outerhaven and McCauley's Columns. In his free time he enjoys painting, gaming, and traveling with his wonderful partner Sarah.

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