08 September 2017
Caroline Walker, Account Director

Three PR lessons from Game of Thrones

Jon Snow_King of the North

This blog is dark and full of Season 7 spoilers…

As we mourn the fantasy series’ departure from our screens (until potentially 2019!), we have taken solace in reflecting on what we have learnt from the drama. In the process, we recognised a number of strategies that carry across to the modern PR industry.

1) Plan how and when to unleash your dragons
We may not have dragons but, occasionally, a wondrous and unique story arrives that makes PR legend. This story fills PR practitioners with excitement, as we know that this is something that every journalist in the Kingdom (or at least occupying the top tier of our media lists) will want to cover. In turn we will be able to create amazing, impactful coverage for our client that will be sung about by minstrels – perhaps even recent cast member Ed Sheeran – for years to come.

As we know, PR success can depend so much on timing and with rare and magical stories such as these, we want to release them at the moments that will create the most shock and awe. Creating multiple media angles offers each outlet a slightly different take on a story, allowing us to release news to a number of publications and generating a greater impact.

Daenerys has successfully done this throughout the series; each time a dragon appears on the show we see something more spectacular. From their hatching at the end of Season 1 to the first time Daenerys flies Drogon (Season 5, Episode 9), the audience never tires of seeing dragons.

Even in this series we are still learning more. We discover that dragons aren’t infallible – with Bronn’s attack, (Season 7, Episode 4) and the Night King’s javelin-throwing (Season 7, Episode 6). We also see that they have a softer side as Drogon enjoys being stroked by Jon Snow (Season 7, Episode 5). And who could’ve predicted that Viserion would become a wight dragon, breathing blue flames to destroy the Wall (Season 7, Episode 7)?!

Lesson: Give your audience exciting new content and they will keep wanting to hear more.

2) Winter is coming
If something is going to happen it pays to keep reminding your media contacts that it will be happening, whether it is releasing your client’s annual financials, launching a new product launch or organising a huge event.

Since Game of Thrones first aired, the Stark family has been heralding the arrival of winter and urging the population to prepare for it. Winter officially arrived at the end of Season 6, yet in Season 7, only Winterfell, the seat of the Stark family, is stockpiling ahead of the years of bad weather, dwindling food supplies and the Long Night. Building preparation time into PR plans will certainly help to ensure that your messaging is right, your strategy is in place and also allows you to warm up the media.

Lesson: Planning for preparation pays off.

3) Make the right amount of noise about your achievements
PR is all about making your voice heard and your accomplishments known and this series aired a scene that could not have demonstrated the power of introduction more.

In the third episode of the latest season, two major characters, Daenerys and Jon Snow, meet for the first time. Daenerys is announced by an incredibly long list of titles and achievements, whereas Jon Snow is introduced as “Jon Snow”, followed simply by “King in the North”.

This scene demonstrates two extremes, both introductions risk failing to make an impact particularly when pitching your client into the press. On the one hand, bombarding the journalist with so much background information about your client that they are bored before you reach the crux of your story fails to secure interest. On the other hand, by failing to properly introduce your client or make their importance known, you risk oblivion and wasting your whole launch strategy. Strike a balance when pitching to press, exude Daenerys’ confidence and major accomplishments but do it as succinctly as Jon Snow.

Lesson: Craft a short descriptor to introduce clients to the press, within it champion the most interesting points to capture attention.

Incorporate these three lessons into your next communications strategy and, while you may not be able to sit on the Iron Throne, your story could be shared across the seven kingdoms.


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