PR Lessons from Game of Thrones
While we all await the seventh season of Game of Thrones, why not learn something from it’s previous content? If you don’t already know, the tv series based on George R. R. Martin’s best-selling novels tells the story of different families and individuals on their quests to take the Iron Throne. The show is filled with nudity and violence, so it isn’t for everybody. Even if you aren’t a die-hard GOT fan, you must admit it has a big impact on popular culture and it maybe wouldn’t be so without clever plot lines and witty quotes from it’s main protagonists. Game of Thrones has become more than just a TV show from which we can learn some good PR lessons. Here are some of the most important PR lessons from Game of Thrones, both from the series PR team and from it’s characters.
”Winter is coming“ is the motto of House Stark, one of the Great Houses in the series. The phrase is very often present on screen and the meaning behind these words is one of warning and constant vigilance. The Starks, being the lords of the North, strive to always be prepared for the coming of winter, which hits their lands the hardest. However, the phrase has a deeper meaning to it – it doesn’t just mean there will be a change in the weather, but that there is a possibility of a doom to come. There are always dark periods in each of our lives, and even if things are good now, we must always be ready for a dark period. This concept can be helpful in crisis management. You can’t predict crisis in PR, but when you can predict the possibility of a crisis, you can prepare yourself better for it. While there will always be some kind of panic during PR crisis, if you and your team are prepared and know how to deal with it, everything will be easier.
Jaime Lannister once said “There are no men like me, only me.” You could think that this once hated, now adored character full of flaws, but also virtues, sounds arrogant and cocky. Yet what you can learn from this is that your content should always be original, not alike someone else’s. There is only one Jaime Lannister and there should be only one-of-a-kind content you make. It doesn’t matter if your client is big or small, famous or not. You should find what is special and unique for and use it for interesting and original campaigns.
“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” is a quote said by Tyrion Lannister, one of the most intelligent characters who managed to survive through all six seasons (a true miracle, really). When you put it in the context of PR, it could mean that we need to have the right tools for the right job. A PR professional should always strive to learn more and be up to date with the industry. Thankfully, we live in a world full of research, books, articles, conferences and webinars so everyone who wants can keep learning, and succeeding! To follow up this thought, here is possibly the most famous Game of Thrones quote – “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” While this sentence was true at the beginning of the show, it isn’t really correct anymore. As the series hasdeveloped, we have seen Jon grow into a humble leader and a great warrior. He has won many times and has succeeded in many quests, but it all wouldn’t have been possible if he hadn’t been willing to learn. Just like him, a PR professional should always be accepting of changes and the first one to learn from mistakes made by him, or someone else.
Now that we’ve studied a few quotes, let’s see what we can learn from the show in general. What fans hate about Game of Thrones is constant killing of their favourite characters, but also small number of episodes per season and the long pause between the seasons. However, these drawbacks don’t cause a popularity decline. Why? Well, because the show is original, intriguing and of quality. We all know the phrase “quality trumps quantity” and every PR professional should stick with it. Stop bombarding you social media channels with dozens of posts every day. Instead, focus on a few, more meaningful posts. People recognize and value quality. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should engage with your audience once in a year – unless you want people to forget you. Even though GOT fans have to wait long periods of time for new episodes, they always come back to the series because they know they will be treated with quality content.
How does the series stay relevant throughout a 10 month-long pause? There is a continuous conversation among fans. Wether sparked by an interview with show’s producers, writers or actors, or triggered by a scene or a spoiler, fans are always kept guessing. This brings them to making theories and discussing it with each other throughout the whole pause. PR professionals behind Game of Thrones know exactly when to publish a story, behind the scenes video or photos from the set, all of which spark controversy and keep fans wanting more. Timing is everything, not just for Game of Thrones, for every PR team!
Although PR isn’t nearly as bloody and aggressive as Game of Thrones, there is a lot we can learn from the series. Hopefully, you’ll learn from the lessons you just read. Make sure you play the Game of PR well!