If you’re anything like the majority of Americans, you’re totally, obnoxiously, insanely crazy about the HBO epic fantasy, Game of Thrones. The show slays when it comes to popularity. The HBO hit series is coupled in with Friends, Breaking Bad, The X-Files and Seinfeld on the Hollywood Reporter’s, “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows Of All Time.”
On top of that, the show finished off season six with a whopping Twenty-Three Emmy Nominations in 2016. What makes this interesting is that it’s the only of its kind on many lists: Game of Thrones pairs Tudor’s-style aesthetics and pseudo – historical references with out of this world, Harry Potter – esque fantasy. We’re talking fire breathing dragons, shape shifting wolf-children, destructive giants, and blue-eyed, snow-dwelling zombies.
If you’re like everyone who doesn’t watch #GOT, and you think, “That doesn’t sound like something I’d like,” I think most avid watchers like me are also surprised that they love it so much.
But, as Samuel L. Jackson summarizes in his epic: Game of Thrones: A Beginners Guide (below), the fantasy just may be the least important aspect of the show.
Ultimately, the show wears opulent and fantastical clothes, but deep inside it carries messages that almost everyone can relate to. It’s about cheering for the underdogs, family dynamics, politics, grief, guilt, and most of all, revenge.
As someone who is a, stereo-typical consumer and also an over-analytical marketer, it makes me wonder: how does Game Of Thrones maintain its cult-like popularity even though it’s seemingly polarizing? While comparing Game of Thrones to real life may seem like comparing apples to space ships, I’ve created a list of things marketers, entrepreneurs and all humans can learn from the insanely popular show.
Expect Problems and Eat Them for Breakfast
Live as if everything is going to change tomorrow.
Game of Thrones fans are, unfortunately, accustomed to having to sit through shockingly unexpected, overwhelmingly heart-breaking, shifts in the story line. But hence, just one week later, we are back at it, eyes wide-open and hearts full of hope, waiting patiently for the next unexpected twist but hopeful for a happy conclusion. Digital Marketers must accept that internet glitches and technology issues are just a part of our day-to-day lives, and when plan A doesn’t pan out, are always plans B-Z to fall back on.
A Digital Following Can Never Replace Real Relationships
Invest in relationships rather than collecting followers.
In Game of Thrones, characters beg, steal and kill for the opportunity to sit on the coveted Iron Throne. Most of the time, the leaders who invest in their people are the ones who rise to power, no matter how illegitimate their claim to the throne seems. I think that digital marketers who are unwilling to think outside the screen are doing themselves a disservice. Specializing or focusing on digital marketing shouldn’t mean that you neglect traditional advertising or making real, person-to-person relationships. A Facebook message will never replace a handshake and an email will never take the place of welcoming a customer at an event.
You Have to Take the Good with the Bad.
In Game of Thrones, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and for every lovable good guy, there is an incredibly awful, bad apple. In real life, technology can be used to spread messages, good and bad, and it’s anonymity makes it possible for some real-life bad apples to be hurtful and negative. It has the potential to make the world smaller, but technology can bring out the worst in some people. Ultimately, in the Game of Thrones, karma always delivers. I see a positive ending to this epic tale and hope to see good conquer evil in the end.
It’s all About the Delivery.
There’s a difference between what you say and how you say it… and some characters in Game of Thrones have such an awesome way with words, that it’s absolutely worth celebrating. (I’m talking to you, Margery Tyrell, Little Finger, Varys and Daenerys… to name a few) In the real world and digital marketing, mastering the pitch, expressing yourself through writing, and crafting intelligent headlines will surely keep you in the running to be royally irreplaceable.
Don’t Get Too Attached.
Just don’t. 🙂
Don’t Make Assumptions.
“Don’t Make Assumptions,” is one of Don Miguel Ruiz’s “Four Agreements”, which I wrote about in a previous blog. In his book, this agreement reads: Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama…” In Game of Thrones, you never want to assume anything. (Unless it’s R+L=J, because, in that case… you’ll be right.) Learn to roll with the heartbreaking shifts in storyline, and accept the untimely deaths of our favorite heroes. After all, isn’t that what we need to do in the real world, too?
Sometimes a Great Ending is Worth Waiting for…
Fans of the HBO show, Game Of Thrones, and especially book readers of George RR Martin’s s Song of Ice and Fire understand that sometimes the ending to an epic story is worth the wait. But seriously, I can’t wait any longer. So now, will everyone please get off of their high horse and watch Game of Thrones so we can see how the epic tale ends, together?