What Star Wars Can Teach Us About Business
Love it or hate it, over the past 40+ years, Star Wars has become an institution. As a fan of the series and its spin-offs, I couldn’t let May the 4th pass by without acknowledging the day (I think a lot of us need a bit of light-heartedness right now). Therefore, I wanted to look at some of the things that Star Wars can teach all of us about business, so let’s go…
The Importance of Alliances
In Star Wars, friendship is at the root of almost every success; Luke needs Hans Solo just as much as Rey needs Finn and Jyn needed Cassian. In business, it’s easy to see how individuals or companies that offer the same or similar products and/or services as the competition. However, they don’t have to be. Instead, strong friendships can be formed amongst people who understand exactly what you are dealing with and you can help each other to avoid making the same mistakes.
On another thread, forging friendships might lead to others recommending you for jobs that they are unable to take on.
Build a Strong Brand
Star Wars is now such a well-known brand, that no longer includes the main films, but spin offs, toys, clothing, posters etc that pretty much sell themselves. If you want a really great example of the selling power of the Star Wars brand, all I have to say is “Baby Yoda” and how the world went crazy when Disney finally released Baby Yoda toys. They didn’t need to advertise or use any kind of promotion. And that is the magic of having strong branding.
If you have a strong brand, your business has the potential to sell on reputation alone. If customers already have a good opinion of your brand, they are more likely to invest in new services and products that you introduce because they know that they can trust you.
That is the key to a strong brand: Building Trust.
Hire the Right People
For the Star Wars universe, Jar Jar Binks just didn’t work. That’s not to say he was a bad character, but he just wasn’t a good fit for the series. That’s something to remember. You can like a person and what they do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the right people for your company or what it needs.
Story Time: My very first client, back in the depths of 2009, hated my work. It put a huge dent on my confidence, understandably and even to this day, I remember that guys brutal attitude. Was he wrong? No, of course he wasn’t. All it meant was that I wasn’t the right person for what he was looking for. And you know what? That is okay, because I know my writing skills aren’t everyone’s cuppa tea and he was looking for something very specific.
Does that mean I am a bad writer? Absolutely not. I’ve been writing for the majority of my life, and I know that not everyone is going to like what I do, just as I don’t necessarily like the style of other writers; that’s just how it goes.
Avoid Silly Gimmicks
I may be in the minority here, but I didn’t (don’t) entirely hate the prequels! One negative thing I will say about them, however, is that they went against everything that had made the originals so great and they caved into the late-nineties, early noughties obsession with special effects.
Unfortunately, they have not aged well. Not only that, but in some areas, the gimmick of CGI etc wasn’t enough to disguise poor scripts.
In business, it’s easy to want to grab the attention of customers with glitz, glamour and ridiculous gimmicks. However, if there’s no substance to what you’re offering, your customers are going to see right through it.
Essentially, your products and services should sell themselves.
Ignore the Critics
"Despite the copious servings of tragic threats and good feelings, the production sinks under the weight of its emotional calculation." The New Yorker
"Abrams is also too susceptible to the solemn self-mythologising that always threatened to spoil the fun of any Star Wars film. He hasn’t made a terrible picture — just a safe one, where the farthest reaches of fantasy feel merely routine." New Stateman
"Some may thrill with delighted recognition at the spectacle of yet another primal duel fought over a great void. Others, though, may know that the real test of myth-making lies in an ability not to repeat but to reinvent." Globe and Mail
These are some of the negative reviews about JJ Abrams Star Wars: A Force Awakens, from “Top Critics”. It’s easy to take what they say to heart, however it’s important to acknowledge the other side of things, for example:
93% of 403 Critics rated the film highly
86% of 233,967 audience (normal people) rated the film highly
It overtook Avatar to become the highest-grossing film of all-time making $706.5m
The important take away here is that every business will receive negativity and people that just don’t get it. However, there will always be people that love your work.
Review, Revise and Re-Release
Although it wasn’t popular with all fans, in the late nineties, George Lucas decided that he wasn’t happy with the original films. Times had changed. Technology had evolved. As a result, he reviewed his trilogy, revised a few things so that they looked a little nicer thanks to new techniques and re-released them.
In a way, this was a clever marketing tool because it helped to sell even more copies of the films whilst making copies of the original – pre-edits – version to more value as they were no longer available to a mass market.
In business, this simple tactic could be applied to a variety of areas, including:
Blog Posts could be updated to fit current product offering Social Media Posts and Blog Posts could be worked into an ebook
Product designs could be updated to suit current trends
There are probably a lot more things that Star Wars can teach us, however I thought these were the ones that really stood out for me. Happy Stars Wars Day and May the 4th be with you