4 Things Marketers Can Learn from Marvel
Marvel is undoubtedly one of the biggest brands in the world, and with all of that power it makes sense to assume they have some serious marketing prowess. Here are four tips you can take from the Marvel marketing experts and apply to your own brand.
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1. Think outside your niche when it comes to collaboration.
On the surface, you may think that Marvel only appeals to comic book nerds, which means their marketing should live in a limited space. According to Fast Company, though, they’ve found that Marvel has power elsewhere, and that they no longer have to be confined to one specific type of marketing or platform. For example, they collaborated with Ford to make them the Guardians of the Galaxy official vehicle, appealing to a broader audience in the lifestyle sector.
The trick to this is staying true to your brand’s story, even as you embark on cross-over promoting. That may mean both brands – yours and the one you’re collaborating with – goes a bit out of their element for the sake of creating an ad, but not so far off base that branding takes a hit.
You also always want to make sure that the audience knows what your brand is – it can’t be so blended with your collaborator that it doesn’t stand on its own, too. For example, the Marvel logo is likely seen even in a collaborator’s commercial, so that the audience will recognize it and also to build brand awareness.
2. Don’t focus on one aspect of your brand. Promote the entire brand universe.
Marvel doesn’t pick and choose the different aspects of its universe to promote, leaving some behind and never heard from again. Instead, they figure out which aspects of the universe should overlap into other aspects. They may stick a hero from one movie in another movie, or reference a scene from the last Marvel movie, or maybe even foreshadow something that’s going to happen in the future. That means that every time an audience member watches one movie, they’re reminded of the others.
Not only is this a fun experience for true fans who can pick out the Easter eggs, but it’s a brilliant marketing strategy. To apply this to your own brand, think about how you can inter-link and reference the different aspects of your company. One of the simplest ways to start doing this is by cross-promoting your social media accounts. For example, link to Instagram from Facebook, or direct someone to a published LinkedIn article from Pinterest.
3. When you find something that works, stick with it.
You’re absolutely going to throw ideas against the wall and find out that a lot of them – maybe even most of them – don’t stick. However, when you finally stumble across that one idea that meets or exceeds expectations, you’ll want to stick with it. The best way to do that is to create a system, something that Stan Lee figured out and depended on for Marvel marketing, according to Inc.
Don’t assume you’re going to remember every aspect of the process. Even if you could, having a checklist of steps is a much more efficient way of creating marketing content. Creating a process means that you can free up your time to focus on more important aspects of the system, like brainstorming and creativity, things that can’t be rushed. You can also use that system to inform and create other systems, or to try out new marketing ideas.
4. Figure out your brand’s unique skillset.
Marvel’s wildly popular because they’re in the business of hero worship. Audience members love seeing heroes on screen. The superhero skill, no matter what it is, is something unique that most people don’t possess, which is why it’s so enthralling to watch. To replicate that kind of appeal in your own business, figure out what your brand’s superhero skill is (and you probably have more than one).
You can also apply this thinking to your entire team. Each of your team members likely has something they’re particularly good at, their own superhero skill. Uncover these skills and encourage them to embrace and hone them. Then, use those individual strengths as part of your marketing strategy, showcasing your employees as experts and specialists.
One Last Thought
Possibly the biggest takeaway there is from Marvel’s “marketing school” is that it’s important – and necessary – to adapt, change and evolve. The best brands aren’t married to any one idea. They know how necessary it is to let go of antiquated ideas and move on from tactics that just aren’t showing any returns.