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“I drink and I know things”: What businesses can learn from the Game of Thrones fandom

In case you’re not aware, a new season of a little TV show called Game of Thrones began earlier this month. People seem quite excited about it, which is something I witnessed first-hand when commuting home. At Liverpool Street, a rather gruff announcement came on warning about using the same card to touch in and out at the barriers. At the end of the announcement, instead of the usual bing-bong, the theme tune from the series played. Obviously, the people at TFL were excited about season seven too.

But this got me thinking, isn’t it impressive that a show like Game of Thrones can have that impact on people? Someone went out of their way to record a Westeros-styled warning for the rush hour commuters. With a station like Liverpool Street, this public service announcement had the opportunity to reach hundreds of people – thousands if the announcement was repeated.

It’s not the first-time brands have been able to influence consumers to provide free marketing, however there is usually some form of personal benefit to the customer. Whether it is receiving a personalised jar of marmite or a limited-edition t-shirt with a purchase, consumers often need some reward to promote a brand.

However, Game of Thrones is different. Customers get no direct benefit from promoting the show; they simply want to be associated with the brand. They promote the show because want to be involved in the ideas and themes that make up the programme. This creates a great promotional tool and continues to draw newcomers to the franchise.

The emotional connection that people have with Game of Thrones is a great lesson for businesses. If a company can extend its offering beyond a product alone – so that it represents the values and ethics that people support – consumers are more willing to buy into the brand. If a business can go even further and create a compelling personality, customers will engage with them on a deeper level. They will tweet, comment or talk about the business because of the emotional connection created between the company and consumer.

This doesn’t happen overnight though. Just like any good TV show, a business needs to engage with customers on a regular basis and not focus all their efforts on the first interaction. Only through consistent communication can a business ensure that its brand loyalty is top notch and that customers see the company as an extension of their life.

The popularity of shows like Game of Thrones provides a great example of how people like getting involved in a brand, regardless of their various backgrounds, experiences and cultures. If a business can replicate that appeal with its customer base, the outcome can be hugely beneficial. Engaging communication and a charismatic image are key, and these are only achieved through consistent engagement with the customer.

Valar Morghulis

What do you think? Are you excited about series seven of Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments below or feel free to tweet us @RostrumAgency