Why know nothing, when you can learn something?
In life, love and work, there’s a lot of things that Game of Thrones can teach us.
Charity begins at home. So does Marketing. For this reason (which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I’m a major GoT fan and am currently rooting for Dany & Jon to get married, take the throne together and make lots & lots of babies.), I have attempted to explain the Game of Marketing using some of the show’s popular House Banners.
When you play the Game of Marketing, you either win or die. I give you a Song of Marketing Tips & Strategies. Here’s looking at 7 Marketing Lessons from 7 GoT House Banners.
House Stark- Winter is coming
In Game of Thrones, since the Starks are the Lords of Winterfell, they live in a region where snow is their worst enemy and if they aren’t prepared for it, the consequences could be disastrous. The same is true in the context of marketing, except here we substitute the weather with a problematic situation. You have to plan for the worst and hope for the best. What’s the worst that could happen? What must I, as a marketer, be vigilant of? Being the middleman between your client and supplier puts you in the position of knowing the scope of the project and the strengths & weaknesses of both parties; hence a contingency plan must always be in order, keeping in mind potential problems that could arise from your client & suppliers. If “Winter” does come to your doorstep, you can put on your scarf and build a snowman, instead of getting frostbite. In Game of Thrones, the White Walkers are humanoid ice creatures hell-bent on covering the world in ice & ending the reign of mankind and the slogan Winter is coming is used many a time to refer to them, not hiding the irony that not only are they a problem but also made of snow and ice. To both, characters of GoT & marketers, the message is the same, in failing to prepare & defend against Winter, the problem you thought was a small one, might have turned into a bigger one when you weren’t looking.
House Lannister- Hear Me Roar / A Lannister always pays his debts
Hear Me Roar is the official motto of the Lannisters. The sigil of the Lannisters is a roaring lion marking both their ferocity in appearance and spirit. Since the Lion is the King of the Jungle, it’s roar is heard and heeded by all the other animals who bow to it. As a marketer you have to be a Lion, your ferocity in giving your client the best marketing service, both by manner & material, must be seen and appreciated by the client and heeded as a warning by your competitors. When you as a marketer put the “roar” in your practices, by default your ferocity will extend to work of your client. When you make your client feel like a king, naturally he will recommend you to other members of royalty aka more clients for you. The unofficial saying of the Lannisters- A Lannister always pays his debts suggests reliability & trustworthiness, once they have given their word it will be done/ or if they have borrowed goods/ money/ service from someone it will be repaid. Similarly, as marketers your word to your client must always be honoured and coordination & payments to suppliers must always be done in a timely manner to strengthen business relationships & goodwill.
House Baratheon- Ours is the Fury
Compared to the other greater houses, House Baratheon were newcomers to Westeros and yet managed to stake their claim to the Iron throne by seizing it from Aerys II, the last Targaryen King. The crown around the stag’s neck in their house sigil indicates that House Baratheon rules over all of Westeros. Budding marketing or creative communication agencies, new to the market, can take a page or two out of House Baratheon’s playbook. You may be new to the game, but when an opportunity comes, you carpe diem it for all it’s worth. Once House Baratheon achieved their ruling status, they didn’t just relax. They aggressively maintained that position. And here’s how they did it: they simply enjoyed what they did. Their house motto “Ours is the Fury” while suggesting that members were prone to anger and quick tempers also underlines the fact that their “fury” was felt by opposing parties when they engaged in war (which they did all the time to maintain their stronghold) giving everyone else the impression that they actually enjoyed the battle, that as warriors, they relished the good fight. As a marketing or creative agency, whether a newbie or not, the battle fought on a daily basis is the battle of creativity. To truly rule the market you have to stake, mark & defend your territory and to do that you have to be truly passionate about everything your chosen field entails.
House Greyjoy- We do not Sow
House Greyjoy hailing from the Iron Islands come from a territory where salt is aplenty. Crops cannot grow there, thus reaping from the land was not a possibility and neither was any connection to the farming trade. The House motto We do not Sow, while a direct reference to this condition, is also a statement of defiance. The farming class was associated with servitude and by their motto, House Greyjoy indicated that they are not mean to serve but rule in their own right. They have been in open rebellion against the Iron Throne and strive to seek independence for the Iron Islands. Since their trade lies in raiding their neighbours, this is a trait that marketers must not adhere to, but gravitate towards the House’s finer qualities like pride in their identity and the constant need to differentiate themselves from others. Although their trade was war, they mastered naval warfare and built the Iron Fleet which consisted of larger longships which can stand against any of the warships in the Seven Kingdoms. As marketers, the services we offer must differentiate themselves from our competitors, making us the master of the sea/ profession. Moreover, the pride of a marketer in who he is, what he does and the profession he represents must shine out like a lighthouse. Even though House Greyjoy lived on harsh terrain, they turned the odds in their favour earning them the phrase Hard places breed hard men. Tough conditions toughened them- they never let it break them. As marketers when faced with stormy weather, we either learn to turn the tide in our favour or let the storm pass. In either case, drowning is not an option.
House Martell- Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
While the motto of House Martell, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken can seem similar to the mottos of the Houses above in their depiction of pride & aggressiveness, their difference lies in their quality of being self-aware & unyielding. In being self-aware, this means that all members of the House while displaying admirable House pride and strength of character were also brutally honest about recognizing their flaws (something which the other Houses don’t really tend to do). In doing so, this allowed them to play to their strengths and stick to their goals on a long term basis. As a marketing or creative agency, you have to realize your limits and capabilities even while you do everything in your power to go beyond the limit for your client. While House Martell never yielded to the rule of any party, in an effort to maintain peace, they united with the Iron Throne through marriage-alliance on equal terms, not conquest. Sometimes in providing the best quality services for your client, it is necessary to seek outside help in the form of suppliers or agencies offering similar services as long as it serves the interests of both parties in the same light and provides maximum benefits for the client. One of House Martell’s best qualities is recognizing the eldest female heir to the Dornish throne as a ruler, as opposed to the other Houses that only recognize male heirs over females. In the creative/ marketing field, lessons could be learnt in promoting gender equality between men & women in the workplace and all aspects of the profession, ensuring both parties are viewed on equal footing and given equal opportunities to grow.
House Tully- Family, Duty, Honour
In the Game of Thrones series, a living embodiment of the House Tully motto Family, Duty & Honour is Catelyn (Tully) Stark. Catelyn is fiercely protective over all her children and more than often follows her heart than head when it comes to her family. From a marketing perspective, this can relate to the relationships you build with your team in the workplace. Are you like a close-knit family? Understanding the role and capacity of your team members, offering every member a solid support system and performing your role in the process is what makes a strong family/ team and creates quality services that exceeds client’s expectations. While she has a strong grasp over politics and possesses insight into what makes Westeros run, Catelyn upholds the name of both House Tully & Stark and is seen as honourable by her acquaintances, putting duty over desire. While tying this concept to the workplace, we can view Catelyn’s alliance to House Tully as personal ethics & alliance to House Stark as professional ethics. In all the relationships that you cultivate with your internal team or external clients & suppliers, your honour must be felt at a personal and professional level. Your personal ethics must dictate your sense of honesty, openness, commitment, unbiased behavior, and responsibility as an individual while professional ethics must dictate a sense of confidentiality, fairness, transparency and proficiency as a team member. No matter your role at the workplace, at the end of the day you represent the company you work for- It’s your duty to honour the name of the family you belong to.
House Tyrell- Growing Stronger
House Tyrell’s sigil may be a rose, a symbol of beauty meant to awe rather than intimidate. However a rose hides the thorns beneath underlying the ambitious and cunning nature of the members of the House. Compared to all the other Houses, the Tyrells are the strategists- they prize themselves on picking the winning side- first the Targaryens, then the Lannisters, the Martell’s & now most recently the Targeryens again- and growing alongside it. As marketers, what we can learn from the House Tyrell is the art of strategy and endurance. In terms of business strategy, pick the market in which your business will most definitely flourish in. Study the market and be flexible since the market changes and you may need to change services/ audience/ approach. In terms of endurance, develop a long term vision for your business and see it through. Be patient and stick to your roots. When growing a plant or a business, first concentrate on planting the seed. Although it may take years, with a little tender loving care, it will eventually bear fruit. As part of their strategy in most cases, the Tyrells consider the act of surrender as a means to getting stronger. As a marketer, the sacrifices you face may be in the form of prioritization and compromising, which has to fall in line with your long-term business goals and objectives. In any case, take care to maintain the brand status you have cultivated for yourself, so as you grow and bloom like a rose, you still manage to captivate anyone who crosses your path.
Reached the end of the article? Well done! I love you more than Arya loves her list
Now, on your way Lord Commander!
Game of Thrones New York Times Advert (http://dailygeekshow.com/une-ombre-plane-sur-le-new-york-times-pour-annoncer-le-retour-de-game-of-thrones/)
House Stark (https://www.pinterest.de/pin/401735229241235946/)
House Tyrell (https://www.pinterest.de/pin/401735229241233967/)
My watch has ended (http://www.elitecolumn.com/game-of-thrones-best-quotes/)