Light and Dark Side of Content Marketing
The galaxy was in peril. The hype was beyond comprehension. The Force was about to awaken,either to guide or to serve us. Dark and Light, Jedi and Sith, friends picked their sides to fight. For luminous beings, adventure is this. A lot to learn there is about Content marketing, in Star Wars.
The Star Wars franchise is one of the most successful of all times; 6 movies, 1 animated movie, 2 animated series, tons of video games, comics and books, toys and fan-fiction is part of this 40 years old success story. On December 17th, people from all over the world with various backgrounds, interests, age, and education will come together to watch “The Force Awakens.” But, what does this tell us?
George Lucas; writer and director of the Star Wars trilogy, undertook a very important and smart move that ensured the success of their world renowned epic movie. He told us a very unique story and he gave us characters that we would love and identify with.
Star Wars is the best example in demonstrating that content marketing is quintessential for any company when trying to establish a well-known presence, as well as being able to sustain its popularity.
Of course, Star Wars has a very important push factor- plus it’s a concept that has been around for decades. Nobody can argue against the opinion that it’s a very good story. The new addition expands beyond the original story line, but nevertheless still proves the importance of good quality content.
So how did Star Wars become a cult? And one of the most successful franchises?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….
Every Star Wars movie starts with the same sentence and the same opening sequence. It is quite catchy – and unique. This is the most important part of marketing: Recognition! Lightsabers, X-wings, Tie Fighters, Death Star, Jedis and Siths, these are just few examples that lead to immediate recognition.
Recognition is important for content marketing, it allows the viewer to identify with your brand (or movie in this case) in a way which creates not only familiarity but trust. This is a good example that suggests that your content needs to be original and can be reused overtime without losing meaning!
People do not like copy cats. Just because you are recognised, you should not assume that people will like everything that you will produce. Bad quality content is bad for reputation and it destroys your credibility. And there are two good examples for this; First one is the expanded universe, the story of Star Wars goes beyond the big screen.
George Lucas introduced the expanded universe in order to protect the Star Wars universe’s integrity he drafted as a roadmap. Also his approval was needed before producing anything related to Star Wars. Over time, and especially after “The battle of Endor – Episode VI,” if we are honest- it turned into a mess.
The second mistake was from Lucasarts. It was a subsidiary of Lucasfilm, which made the “Star Wars Force Unleashed games.” The initial idea of the game was really interesting but the implementation was really bad and game play was poor. More importantly; the story line contradicted with the original trilogy, and Star Wars fans hated the game.
Just keep that in mind: Recognition and popularity will not turn bad content into something that is “good”. In fact, it can spiral out of control and become even worse and as a result it may damage your brand. That is why Disney announced, after acquisition of LucasFilm, that the expanded universe will not be part of Star Wars canon.
I am your father, Luke…
In every movie, villains are repulsive and irritating. We usually hate them, but in Star Wars nearly all fans fell in love with Darth Vader. Even though the Sith lords show no mercy and kill indiscriminately. With his helmet and iconic respiration sound he is a very exquisite character.
Every other character in Star Wars movies are very interesting and badass, except Storm Troopers. For some reason they cannot hit a single target! From Princess Leia to Han Solo, to Chewbacca and our little droid friend R2D2, every character has a very important role and therefore everyone can find a character to bond with.
Familiarisation is very important in brand building, as well as in content marketing. People do not buy the product alone, they also buy a certain set of values. This is the lifestyle they want to familiarise with the product.
A good example is energy drink companies, which have managed to position themselves perfectly with extreme sports. Also, it is important to keep in mind that Star Wars main revenue source is not the movies. Toys, computer games, books and comics are the larger share in total revenues, along with the series of movies.
Content is very important to achieve this familiarity. Yet again; it is important to keep in mind that Star Wars is a great story with loads of wrong decisions. For instance the “Star Wars Force Unleashed games,” is a perfect example of how bad content can destroy a very good concept.
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Always two – there are; no more – no less. A master and an apprentice.
Darth Bade put this rule in force, after the disastrous defeat against the Jedi Order. This happened 1,000 years before the Clone Wars. Though Siths tend to fight with each other over power – strong partnerships – something a jedi would rely on – is important.
Star Wars would be dull without John Williams’ epic music. Imagine the iconic opening sequence without main theme. The same applies to sounds and visual effects. LucasFilm evolved into something much larger than Lucas had ever imagined. It had different subsidiaries specialised on different technologies.
Skywalker sound, THX, and other subsidiaries was founded to ensure the quality of Star Wars movies, but they also shared their technology with other companies. Without companies like Hasbro, Raven Software or Bioware, we wouldn’t have X-wing, Millennium Falcon toys or every Star Wars fans’ favorite games, like: “Knights of the Old Republic” or “Jedi Knight Outcast” and “Jedi Academy” games.
In content marketing it is important to find good partners and collaborate. That means that you also should allow people to use your high quality content. This will improve the value you have produced with that content.
Remember, the Star Wars franchise is not do much about movies any more. Sure, movies play an important part, but it have evolved into something much much bigger, and it will only continue to evolve.
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