3 Lessons Every Marketing Pro Can Learn from Game of Thrones

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Gabriel Marketing Group

I have a confession (ok an obsession). And though I know I’m not alone in this, it still took me a while to publicly admit that I, too, am addicted to “Game of Thrones.” In case you’ve been living in the Dark Ages (pun intended for all my fellow thronies), “Game of Thrones” is an HBO series about seven noble families fighting for control of the mythical land of Westeros, based on series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin. While this all sounds very Dungeons and Dragons-esque, the series is actually quite edgy, and recently claimed the honor of “most pirated TV show,” as well as a record 4.2 million viewers for the season two finale that aired on June 3.

These stats assure me that I’m not alone in the depression that has ensued now that I have nothing to do with my Sunday nights. I did, however, find a way to temper the emptiness by watching some seriously hilarious memes created by fellow lost souls also mourning the end of season two. Even Forbes weighed in, comparing “Game of Thrones” characters to presidential candidates!

All of this got me thinking: why shouldn’t we marketing and PR folks get in on the fun? After all, at times our jobs can definitely feel like an epic battle in one sense or another.

So here it is: Three “Game of Thrones” takeaways for marketing pros.

  • Complacency kills. Literally. It’s no coincidence power is continuously being fatally usurped from those characters who have assumed that their status or perceived power will protect them (see: Ned Stark, Renly Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen). The same goes for marketing, although the “life and death” of our campaigns and client relationships are what’s hanging in the balance. Regardless, no one wants to be publicly beheaded, stabbed in the back, or held down by a ruthless savage while one of his cronies dumps molten gold over your head.  In the PR/marketing world, these are analogous to losing a client or having a killer strategy fall into the hands of a competitor. In an industry as fast paced as ours, we must stay alert and proactive to prevent such a fate.
  • Winter is ALWAYS coming. A bit of an inside joke with Thrones fans, the characters on the show are constantly fretting that “Winter is coming,” but no one really knows when Winter is coming or what’s going to happen when it does come. The take away for marketing and PR? We should always be prepared for any situation because, let’s face it; you never know what’s going to happen. If you already have a protocol in place when the you-know-what hits the fan (and it will), then you won’t have to waste your, and the client’s, time developing said protocol in the middle of a crisis. Coming up with a plan while trying to solve issues at the same time is never fun. 
  • Don’t be afraid to be disruptive. Who DOESN’T love Peter Dinklage’s character, Tyrion Lannister? Even though he is a (sneer) Lannister, he isn’t afraid to stand up to his family because he knows they’re always up to no good. While it would be easy for him to sit back, relax, and enjoy a worry-free life full of debauchery, he makes it a point to involve himself in the goings on of his powerful brethren, much to their annoyance. Point being: don’t be afraid to do something different than everyone around you. Break away from the pack, be disruptive with your ideas, and don’t back down just because you’re in the minority.

Until next season, Westermen and ladies–feel free to apply the above in all of your marketing tasks and roles across the realm. Or, share some of your own.

From the Blog

Leah Nurik