Marketing & Communications Strategy
- Under: Marketing & Communications Strategy
A long time ago, in a marketing age far, far away…
The movie Star Wars: A New Hope was released in theaters—a moment that would ignite one of the most far-reaching and influential brands in the history of our galaxy.
In today’s marketing landscape, many still rightly follow Bill Gates’ 1996 idea that ‘content is king,’ and brands and marketers that generate high volumes of high-quality content will be the most likely to be noticed and succeed. At CHIEF, we have teams of content marketing experts that help our clients generate amazing content for their marketing campaigns.
So how has Star Wars, a brand that went 19 years (Episode VI – Episode I) and 10 years (Episode III – Episode VII) between major film releases during its existence, survived(and thrived!) through the test of time?
The answer, if you couldn’t guess it, is content.
While many people may be hard-pressed to think of Star Wars content released in the large gaps between films, Star Wars’ target-audience of consumers—those who have powered the brand’s marketing hyperdrive for the last 40 years—could name dozens, if not hundreds, of pieces of content pushed out by the brand in that space between films timeframe.
Star Wars is a brand that has always understood the power and importance of knowing your target audience. Star Wars’ target audience—via rough estimation—started as males ages 8-35, and continued as such for 38 years before it slightly altered prior to the release of The Force Awakens.
Starting in 1977, members of Star Wars’ target demographic would see the feature length films, and be fully enthralled by the Sci-Fi universe depicted on the big screen. Understanding their target audience’s thirst for more, George Lucas and the brains behind Star Wars began the process of approving and releasing immense amounts of content tailored specifically for the brand’s fans.
Since the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy—after Return of the Jedi—in 1983, there have been hundreds of Star Wars toys, games and novels — $20 billion of licensed products—directed at giving the brand’s target audience exactly what it wanted: more Star Wars content.
While many more ‘casual’ consumers of Star Wars films may view reading Star Wars books and playing with plastic lightsabers as a bit nerdy, it is that core target audience that is the main reason Star Wars is what it is today.
In the late 1970s, Star Wars’ target audience encompassed a generation of ages. Once the first trilogy was complete, decades passed and that target audience—fueled by specialized content —stayed loyal to the Star Wars brand, even as its members aged and had children.
Then, in 1999, A Phantom Menace was released, and Star Wars was back in a big way. Not only was that original target audience eager to consume all the new Star Wars content, but their children—who by this time were well within the original target range—were eager to become part of the Star Wars universe their parents were so fond of.
The same cycle described above repeated itself again in 2015, when The Force Awakens launched another generation into the Star Wars universe.
One target audience—three generations.
Today, people around the globe are celebrating the wondrous, expansive and captivating Star Wars universe, and all of the stories it holds. People from Star Wars’ target audience —such as myself and other CHIEF-mates who have written about the Saga before—will don Star Wars attire to their offices, and watch Star Wars films with their families. And despite what some may think, it wasn’t the force that brought Star Wars this much success. It was the steadfast commitment to loyal fans, and delivering quality, specialized content for decades on end.
May The Fourth Be With You. #BeBrave