Marketing tips from ‘The Hunger Games’ will help your brand ‘catch fire’

The three-finger salute signifies unity between the districts in "The Hunger Games." (Josh Thomas)

The three-finger salute signifies unity between the districts in “The Hunger Games.” (Josh Thomas)

Every Everdeen-loving, Capitol-loathing Hunger Games fan is assuredly excited for the final piece of the movie series, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” which premieres Nov. 20. The release is sure to bring out zealous fanatics everywhere.

The powerful Hunger Games movement might be able to survive solely on fan buzz. But the digital marketing team for the movies delved into its creative sides and fashioned more than just a buzz; it established a community for the fans.

This brilliant content marketing strategy made a statement to marketing, communications and entertainment professionals everywhere. Anyone can learn a few things from the creative content marketing behind “The Hunger Games.”

Loyal brand followers are already ‘hungry’ for more.

When a brand (or in this case, a series) has a loyal following, fans seek out the next news or information on it.

Before the movies were announced, “The Hunger Games” trilogy had already attracted a large fanbase. These fans couldn’t be satisfied by simply finishing their paperbacks. They were ‘hungry’ for more.

The digital marketing team understood this. Its publics had formed themselves, and all it had to do was get into their perspective. What did they want? How could the team give that to them?

That’s where creativity began. Rather than planning a new campaign for each premiering movie, extensive effort was put in to create a community where followers could integrate themselves into the process. The fans have since felt part of “The Hunger Games”

For those behind the project, it was a matter of taking the tools and resources available, and combining them with flawless execution.

Professionals can learn from this strategic example. If a brand or organization has a good product or cause, publics begin to develop organically. Carefully considering the needs of a public provides a basis to build on creatively. Brilliance comes when professionals meet those needs in an original and innovative way.

But, if it doesn’t come quite so naturally, tips for becoming more generally creative can be found here.

Taking risks can help your strategies ‘catch fire.’

In “The Hunger Games” series, a rebellion is kindled underneath the dominant and oppressive government. The stifled citizens, led by the courageous young Katniss Everdeen, begin to defy the government and go against their cultural norms.

It just may be flouting the typical tactics that leads a campaign to success.

Movie premieres and promotions have been around for decades, but none have been quite like “The Hunger Games.” Patterned after the attributes of bravery in the books, those behind the marketing took major risks.

Rather than using solely traditional forms of marketing and advertising (i.e. television commercials, print advertisements), the team was more innovative. They created a website from the fictional Hunger Games government, interacted online with fans and the community through Facebook and other social media, and primarily relied on digital marketing.

As with all risks, they can either flop or catch fire. In the case of “The Hunger Games,” the risks definitely ignited its promotion. Don’t be afraid to strike a strategic match, sit back and watch the flames reach new heights.

You can be the Mockingjay of your messages.

A campaign can’t survive with flashy websites and cool platforms alone. Publics have to feel a connection with the process.

The digital marketing team understood the importance of including “The Hunger Games” community in the campaign development.

Facebook and YouTube were used as the main hubs for updates and interaction with fans. This was confirmed in an interview with Danielle DePalma, the social media strategist behind “The Hunger Games’” campaign.

“That allowed us to really start forming an emotional connection with fans, and it got them following us and then spreading the word for us. It was exciting because we knew that we could work with them and get them on board to really help push the campaign,” DePalma said.

That connection is crucial for a solid brand-consumer relationship. No expensive billboard or suave television spot will compensate for followers who don’t feel their voice is heard and appreciated.

So, go ahead and stretch the limits. Find the fire that exists just beyond the spark. And, of course, may the odds be ever in your favor.

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