How to Build an Inconic Brand like the Hunger Games

The global mega hit of the year will certainly be The Hunger Games - the iconic, epic cult movie based on the superbly written trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  The movie is generating buzz  that most PR agencies would sell their souls for - you can’t turn on a device of any type (iPad, Smartphone, “stone age tablet”) without seeing an image of the star, Jennifer Lawrence staring back at you.

The imagery is everywhere and the brand is ever-present and looks like it will have a significant afterlife that will burn bright across the social web and news media for weeks, months and years to come - and with two more books to be turned into cinematic ROI, expect to hear more.

Marketers take note - build your brand like the Hunger Games with these five key marketing strategies.

1) Content strategy is the most critical element to building any type of online brand - whether its text, imagery, video, audio or a combination of all, the most critical element to building an iconic brand is great content. Everything else flows from the content.

The movie, “Hunger Games” is based on a well written best seller by the same name by Suzanne Collins - the core content is gripping, passionate and targeted for a younger demographic (although morphed to broad appeal now) that wants dynamic content that resonates with and fires up their passion. Mirror this strategy for your brand - great content resonates, builds brand awareness, drives conversions, interaction and engagement.

2) Build a great team - the Hunger Games features the emerging star, Jennifer Lawrence who made a name for herself  in “Winter Bones,” coupled with a stellar supporting cast including Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson and Woody Harrelson.

You can’t go to any venture capital conference or dive into Dave McClure’s (the go to “Angel Investor”  second to none)  Twitter stream without hearing the mantra, “invest in the team” - position your brand and build your business accordingly. Hire great people and don’t be stingy with the equity - we digress; but, a smaller piece of a big pie for all is much better than a large share of nothing. Great people want to be rewarded, appreciated and feel like they own a piece of the brand.

3) Like Ted Turner used to stay, “get up early work hard and advertise your ass off” - embrace this strategy as much as you can. Build a digital eco system around your brand. If you Google the Hunger Games you’ll find an ever growing list of over 1.6 billion pages/sites/brands competing for the keyword, “The Hunger Games.”

Let’s face it, the average company or brand isn’t going to be this successful. But, if you dig into these links you will find a mixture of URLs comprising movie listings, PR, videos, articles, social media signals (Twitter hash tags, Facebook Likes, etc.) Comprising a blended branding campaign that comprises traditional PR, advertising, heavy doses of social media marketing, solicitation of brand amplification across the social web, YouTube videos and more.  Ted had it right in the now “ancient days” when an iPad was just a dream in Steve Job’s mind…….

4) Integrate PR in your advertising mix - PR still works. It’s targeted (keyword and demographic) and it amplifies your brand in ways that no other medium, other than social media can come close to. This can be a do it yourself strategy that necessitates your writing PR that resonates with your audience and/or hiring a consultant, or better yet, a PR agency, as they have “reach” contacts and expertise that is hard to match with a DIY strategy. But, whether your approach is do it in-house or via an agency, make PR a core part of your marketing strategy.

5) Leverage social media marketing - “The Hunger Games” Facebook account has (trending up) 3.3 million “likes” on their account and over 500 million “talking about this” rankings as we throw up this blog post. This is stellar social media marketing and overshadows many Oscar marketing campaigns.

If you look at the HashTag trends for “#hungergames” on the marketing ROI is staggering - this hashtag is overshadowing just about any other hashtag across the social web and underscores the significant consumer buzz this movie (branding campaign) has built. This is such a popular hashtag other brands are hijacking the hashtag by incorporating it in Tweets that have nothing to do with the movie - underscoring brand awareness for the movie and related popularity.

Key takeaways for effective social media marketing - leverage social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) with a content syndication strategy that amplifies your core messaging across the social web. Build conversation and engagement by pushing out and sharing your content with a feed stream that builds your story over time (rinse and repeat) - for better or worse, a successful social media marketing campaign necessitates repetition and amplification. Social consumers are at times a bit hard to reach and driven to distraction!