Adapt or Die: When Game of Thrones meets marketing

 
 

It’s been a long, cold winter. But finally HBO’s most popular series ever is back! Game of Thrones season 5 is poised to up the ante with more intrigue, more mystique, and more fierce battles in the Seven Kingdoms.

Digital Marketing Analyst Brian Solis famously described the struggle and competition for relevance in our increasingly digital landscape as Digital Darwinism, coining the mantra “Adapt or Die”.

Cersei Lannister is similarly sage about those competing for power in the Seven Kingdoms: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

Granted, the Seven Kingdoms are not your average office environment, and the only “Power Point” in Game of Thrones is at the business end of a long sword – but trust us, the same fundamental rules that apply to building brand equity and customer loyalty in the marketplace, also hold true for forging alliances and building a dynasty supported by loyal followers in the Seven Kingdoms.

Without verging into #spoilers territory, we here at Selligent have some insights based on some tried-and-true knowledge from the world of marketing.

Alliances will tilt the scales

Picking up where season 4 left off, there are a lotta characters on the board. A lot of characters! And the wheels, as famously illustrated in the Game of Thrones intro sequence, keep turning.

But not only are major players strewn all across the map from King’s Landing to the North, the Iron Islands, and the Vale. All the houses and fractions are mostly gunning for ultimate supremacy by themselves. And that’s the major problem.

As we know from the world of marketing, the right partnerships and alliances can pave the way to market dominance. Major wins ensue when brands and marketing agencies and indeed companies and marketing software platforms get together to play ball.

Conversion in the North?

The expansive lands along the Wall – the North is bigger than the other six kingdoms combined – have seen their fair share of action. With Wildlings and White Walkers at the gate, leading Westeros dynasties are fighting over what formerly belonged to House Stark.

While Robb Stark built major momentum as the new King in the North, his death at the infamous #RedWedding left a major power vacuum. Will Jon Snow be able to leverage Robb’s brand buzz to rally support as the new Lord Commander? He’ll need it to ward off Iron Throne contenders like Stannis Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton.

In marketing terms, attracting avid followers is always great, but keeping your followers loyal requires real work. Remaining authentic and true to your brand values and heritage are the key to maintaining and building your following, something Snow will need to keep to keep in mind as he grows into his leadership role.   

Brand re-launch for Tyrion Lannister 

We all know that Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) was the real hero in the Battle of Blackwater. And we watched, white-knuckled, as he was discredited and his reputation tarnished by the public trial for murdering sadistic Jeffrey.

And sure, it was a set-up and a staged trial. But a public one nevertheless. And the double rage murder of ex-lover Shae and Tyrion’s father Tywin sure won’t aid his reputation in the Seven Kingdoms.

For Tyrion to emerge as a major power broker in season 5, he needs a complete re-launch of his brand and reputation. As Jay Conrad Levinson puts it in Guerrilla Marketing: “Credibility is something you earn by how you market, where you market, how you treat people, how you act, and your overall level of professionalism. Away from the business arena, the term is street cred, and it's the road to respect.”

Tyrion may be ridiculed as a “dwarf”, but he is still a full-fledged Lannister the mind-set and connections to pull off a mind-shift. He knows that followers can be fickle. And if he doesn’t like the story surrounding his person, then he’s got the chops and coin to change it. 

Got some GoT-marketing parallels of your own? Tweet ‘em over to @selligent! 
 

 

Image One: Shutterstock / Radu Bercan
Image Two: Shutterstock / Tinseltown