Alas, the Game of Thrones epic has come to its inevitable end (sigh) — but the story still has much to teach us. In this guest blog post, Laura Gayle -- Owner of Business Woman Guide -- shares a number of marketing insights that she's gathered from the show. Read on for the seven marketing messages from Game of Thrones!
Guest Author: Laura Gayle, Owner, Business Woman Guide
More than just a thrilling TV series that millions of people watch every year, Game of Thrones can offer useful (if sometimes brutal) life lessons and even inspire business strategies. The following seven tips can give your marketing methods a boost and ensure that you not only survive the winter but also bounce back if enemies try to invade your stronghold.
- Heed All Sources of Knowledge
Good leaders send ravens to keep in constant contact with their allies. They always know what’s happening and what they can do to improve the efficiency of their operation. The same is true in business: Listen to the wind and pay attention to what you hear from those around you. You're likely to hear a pretty steady stream of rumors if you keep your ears open.
Of course, you’ll need to learn to distinguish between apparent lies and facts. This task can be challenging for many leaders, as it requires the intuition necessary to sort through the glaring smokescreens set by your competitors (and daily reality). But among the chatter, there are always surprises and breakthroughs you can use to your advantage.
- Never Forget That Winter is Coming
Winter is the cruelest season in GOT, and the show’s most ominous saying is used to herald the coming rounds of political machinations and personal challenges. When winter is coming, preparation is critical. Just like the squirrel packs away extra acorns, you need to protect your business by always preparing for the worst, even at your highest point of success.
You might need to schedule in extra help during predictably busy seasons. You may need to set aside extra cash when you anticipate a downturn in the market. And you should also prepare your taxes correctly to ensure that you are safe. Proper tax calculation helps keep your finances in order to protect you when winter hits. Even a small amount of planning is a wise step here.
- Take Pride in your Sigil
When rulers in Game of Thrones see their enemies’ flags and sigils coming, they know what to expect. Sigils let everyone who sees them understand what you stand for and have to offer, and they can even intimidate your enemies when properly deployed.
Keep your sigil – i.e., your business logo – in good shape to help ensure your company’s success. Your logo should be clean, identifiable, and up to date. It should plainly represent your business, inviting customers into your house while alerting your competitors to exactly where they stand. Let your boldness follow you and fly your sigil everywhere you can.
- Build Alliances Whenever Possible
No kingdom continues to stand without strong alliances. The same is true in the business world. Microsoft succeeded by getting its operating system installed in all IBM computers and has succeeded further by building stronger relationships since. You must make sacrifices and identify allies, like the best rulers in Game of Thrones, to ensure that your financial kingdom becomes and remains a success.
For instance, you may need to relocate to a new part of the country to connect with new partners, gain economic advantages, or better fit your brand identity. Linking your brand to a popular partner or location can build its appeal — and can save you money if you find an HQ city where rents are more affordable, such as Tampa or Kansas City. Your location is your kingdom, so embrace its unique character, shore it up with partnerships, and establish your rule.
- Rest — But Don't Be Idle
Building a prosperous kingdom is hard work and often requires rest. Even rulers in Game of Thrones take time to hold festivals and celebrate when times are good. Resting helps you regain your energy and focus and gives you the chance to come back hard. However, you can’t remain entirely idle; it’s best to use your time in enjoyable but productive ways.
One way you can enhance the use of your time is to attend trade shows and other networking opportunities. If these types of meetings existed in Game of Thrones, every king and warlord would attend. A trade show can be not only a fun way to escape the daily grind, but also an excellent source of potential contacts, which can expand your company’s business prospects exponentially.
- Stay Mindful of Your Reputation
Great rulers often focus their whole lives on significant work to create a positive image among their subjects. However, one false move can damage a hard-won reputation forever and make followers turn their backs. This situation might be unfair, but it’s merely marketing reality.
Even one poorly thought-out post on the internet from one disgruntled employee or a raging review from an unhappy customer could cause you unfortunate internet infamy and damage your business. Remember: What is posted may never die. So monitor your company’s social media presence carefully, both from the inside and outside.
- Make Adversity Your Ally
Shocking and unexpected things happen all the time in Game of Thrones. Did anybody expect John Snow to get stabbed to death or Bran Stark to fall out of a window? These moments show just how fragile our lives can be and how important it is to be prepared for these instances. Thankfully, you can use these moments of adversity to help you bounce back in a big way.
For an (appropriately dramatic) example, say you lose one of your facility's buildings to a fire, which takes with it years of completed work, records, and data. Although this would be a heavy blow, you could use this moment as a rallying point for your employees and help them return to striving toward success. Tap into the insurance money, rebuild an improved facility, and inspire your employees into a better quarter.
As you can see, Game of Thrones can teach us a lot about how to succeed in business, often in unexpected ways. Take these concepts to heart to ensure your business’ success, standing with your house and banner-bearers against the toughest enemies and the fiercest winters.
The opinions of our guest bloggers are their own and not those of 1871.