Marketing Takeaways from Summer Blockbusters

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Michiko Morales

It’s my favorite time of year – summer blockbuster movie season. I should be ashamed of how much I spend on movie tickets, popcorn and kiddie pool-sized sodas during Hollywood’s High Holy Season. The sum could probably put my non-existent children through a cushy private college if invested well.

But I justify it by knowing there are lessons to be learned at the Cineplex this summer (other than the Chrises Evans, Hemsworth and Pratt are pretty dreamy). If you dig deep beneath the Hollywood glitz and glamor, there are some key takeaways that marketers can apply to their everyday work to create teams that are more cohesive, creative and productive – and turn out blockbuster work of their own.

  • Furious 7 (April 3): The action franchise that just won’t quit proves that chemistry and a little new blood are invaluable. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joined the cast in the fifth movie, expanding the franchise’s appeal – and longevity. So whenever you feel like you’re stalling out, and the ideas just aren’t coming fast and furious (I couldn’t resist), don’t be afraid to introduce some new blood. Note: This doesn’t always mean hiring someone. Hold a brainstorming session with a few members of an outside team. Research shows that group brainstorming often fails because those on a team are too similar. So diversify to get the best results.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1): Marvel Studios reportedly has an intricate timeline of movies planned that will keep fellow superhero nerds occupied until 2028. Beginning with 2008’s “Iron Man,” the studio has woven a cohesive story across movies and TV that has turned several lesser-known heroes (hello, Peter Quill), as well as favorites like Thor, into cinematic gold. Even though the Marvel movies are written and directed by different teams, they adhere to the same brand story. No matter your medium – company blogs, social media, case studies, product one pagers – always convey a single brand voice. Create a brand story that’s compelling and keeps people coming back for more.
  • Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15): Could anyone have predicted that a movie about a college a cappella group would have been such a hit? Sure, there’s the music and humor, but the underlying gem in this movie and its predecessor is that harmony – and teamwork – is vital. Studies show that working alone not only prolongs projects, it even stalls learning. Working collaboratively is the key to success, and no matter the project, every team member plays an important part in ensuring its success. Plus, imagine how boring life would be if we all sang the same note.
  • San Andreas (May 29):  “Be prepared for the worst” is the key takeaway from these previews. While people can rely on brave rescue workers in times of need, businesses aren’t always as lucky. Owners should have a data protection plan in place, including backing up your files on at least a weekly basis, especially offsite or via a cloud back-up service. And protect those files from hackers, malware and viruses with an extra layer of protection on your company network – typical antivirus solutions only go so far. Looking back, Sony could have benefitted from this lesson – preparing for the worst might have protected their sensitive data from prying eyes.
  • Jurassic World (June 12): After the first three movies, what could go wrong on Isla Nebular? From the looks of the trailer, plenty. Just like the dinosaurs in “Jurassic World” have evolved, so has technology. There’s no time like the present to evaluate your current marketing and PR tools – your media databases, your email marketing services and everything in between. Also take a look at your company as whole – are you able to keep up with scale, accurately respond to RFPs or pinpoint areas of growth or improvement within your company? If not, consider an online business management solution that can help you streamline operational tasks. Erase cluttered workflows and password overload with a consolidated enterprise social collaboration platform that can combine document creation, internal messaging, wikis and other features on a single platform. Another upside, transparent collaborative work environment can make your organization more attractive to the millennials who are flooding the workforce in record numbers.

This summer has all of the makings of a record-breaking movie season for Hollywood. Among the explosions, laughter and popcorn, there are a few nuggets of wisdom for marketers that can help improve daily operations and create more cohesive, creative team. To borrow a line from the beloved Roger Ebert, “I’ll see you at the movies.”

From the Blog

Leah Nurik