HBO has been on the forefront of storytelling and television for the past two decades. Their newest show, Westworld inspired by Michael Cricton’s 70’s movie, is a big-budget, star-studded, special-effects-driven series that has all the elements to make it a huge success. However, beneath the entertainment there are many great marketing lessons to be learned. I’m going to outline a few here.
1) Have a Unique Selling Proposition
Unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes your business stand out. It what makes you different than any of your competitors. You should think about your USP from your customer’s point of view. With sometimes thousands of potential options for your customer to choose from, what makes them buy from you? If you can’t answer the question, most likely they will either not purchase from you or be easily wooed by another company. You don’t want either option.
In the HBO series, what makes Westworld unique? It is unlike anything else anybody has created. You can play cowboy, go around killing people and generally do whatever you want. The company that owns Westworld goes to great length to stop their secrets from being stolen by a competitor.
As a business person and a marketer, you can’t just copy somebody else. You need to be original and if you have a thought out USP then you don’t have to worry about price wars.
The guests in Westworld pay $40,000 a day to enjoy this unique experience that nobody else can provide. An astronomical amount for a single day’s worth of entertainment by anybody’s standards. But once you are ahead in the market, you can charge premium prices and people will pay.
2) Tell A Story
Marketing is really all about telling a great story. It forges a connection between you and your customer. All the best commercials, magazine ads, and written copy tell amazing stories. They are the best because they are most memorable and the most endearing. Good storytelling stays with us, it connects us emotionally in a way that numbers and pie charts can’t. It’s through emotion that we connect with a brand and stay loyal to it.
In Westworld, the creators give the robots a backstory to make them more lifelike and interesting to the visitors. The creators give the robots personalities, accents, and memories. It’s not the beautiful scenery that keep the clients coming back again and again; it’s the storylines and the characters—it’s what get them hooked and lost in the fantasy.
Research indicates that 78% of marketers think content is the future and 65% think branded storytelling is better than other forms of advertising. Those brands that create, share and tell good stories will be ahead of the competition.
3) Know What Your Clients Want
The battle for market share is won or loss on how well you know your clients. The company that does the most market research and knows its clients the best will ultimately rue the day.
Understanding your audience on an intimate level makes marketing to them easy. It helps you talk directly to your ideal customer and results in a more authentic story and a clearer message.
The creators of Westwold knew their target audience. The inventor of the park, Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins, is an astute study of humanity and psychology. He understands the clientele often better than they know themselves. He realizes people came to the park to let off steam, where they could be someone else for a change and fulfill their wildest imagination.