May the Fourth Be With You

Last week, I chatted with some of Marketsmith’s biggest Star Wars fanatics, Karen Goulart (Copy Director/Jedi Wordsmith), Sarah Oehler (Marketing Associate/Human Cyborg Relations), Jason Tighe (Accounting Associate/Darth Numbers), and Christopher Jasinski (Client Performance Director/Battle Droid), to honor today’s unofficial holiday, May Fourth. As brand scientists, we couldn’t avoid dissecting the Star Wars’ brand and how it has been able to consistently resonate with fans cross-generationally, cross-channel, and multiculturally. Here’s my conversation with the team:

How did you become interested in Star Wars?

Karen: Growing up, Star Wars was the biggest, newest, nerdiest movie out. It’s an evergreen story, the classic Good vs Evil. The storyline itself is fairly simple, but their ability to “build worlds” and experiences was second to none. I felt like I was part of the story.

Chris: Return of the Jedi was the first movie I saw in theaters. I remember being mesmerized as a kid by this new world. I then felt the same feeling when I got to show my kids The Mandalorian on Disney+. Star Wars has been able to connect with all people, across all age groups and generations. During this time at home, my kids and I now share the same passion for discussion around the episodes, stories, and characters.

Sarah: I never really had an interest in Star Wars (the whole room gasped), but when the pandemic started, I found myself binging on Disney+. After watching The Mandalorian, I started bingeing the originals and fell in love with the characters.

Jason: I fell into Star Wars because of peer pressure (the good kind). My friends dragged me to Episode III, where I witnessed the vast Star Wars world and the detailed approach to creating characters. The universe felt like it was well…real. Because each character, even in the background contributed to the depth of the ecosystem. I wanted to be immersed.

How has Star Wars been able to create a cross-generational, global, diverse fan base?

Karen: There’s a constant touchpoint with Star Wars. Whether it is through their big box movie hits in the form of prequels, sequels, and more or their ability to create spin-off animated series bingeable online. They have an uncanny ability to create a new sense of nostalgia by connecting older storylines to newer series.

Chris: Besides creating the vast fictional world, they’ve brought their brand to life with action figures, apparel, costumes, events, and more. This really gives the Star Wars brand a larger-than-life feeling, as the fantasy worlds come to life in the “real” world.

Sarah: There’s a character to love for everyone. C3P0 is my favorite character; he’s just so lovable. Moreover, he was a consistent character as I started on this Star Wars adventure, showing up in almost all of the movies and shows. I’d tune in just to see what he does next.

Jason: The characters you see at the famous saloon scene are all so unique and different – they aren’t human-looking at all, and yet still relatable. There is depth to their world; it is not just a reimagined version of our world. I won’t mention the other Space-focused series that pretty much just puts makeup on humans.

3 Ways to Optimize Your Brand Messaging:

  • Create Impactful Characters to Tell Your Simple Story: Work with creators or create fictional ones to help tell your brand story. Make the story a simple one so it is easy to comprehend, but use your characters to build depth.
  • Build Experiences: Your brand goes beyond the purchase process. It doesn’t have to be a fully built out universe in a galaxy far far away. Create spaces for your loyal fans to come together either digitally or physically.
  • Consistent Touchpoints: Utilize the multitude of channels to distribute your content and offering. From movies to live events, Star Wars has created many avenues for their consumers to engage with the brand and the community.

While Rebellions are Built on Hope, Great Brands are Built on Connection. The Force is Strong With This One, [email protected]