The entertainment business is about creating and selling products, so in some respects, entertainment PR is very similar to the Public Relations and marketing used to sell Tonka trucks, and minestrone, and laptop computers. But, because many entertainment properties are both individual and ongoing brands, there are many key differences. In this article, PR Executive Ronn Torossian reflects on how several of today’s top entertainment brands have managed to create unshakable fan bases that live long past the actual product.
Consider that entertainment products are created and brought to life by individuals who must, by the nature of the business, already be thinking about their next product DURING the creation of the current one. When it comes to television, actors and producers are already reading scripts for totally different programs while they are appearing on promotional tours for their current projects. The reason? They understand that promoting that product is only one step in the larger process of promoting their own careers. Therefore, they need those productions to take on a life of their own in order for them to move on WHILE the former products are still bringing them healthy dividends.
As an example of how this works, let’s look at one of TVs current undisputed blockbusters, Game of Thrones.
Based on the popular book series, GOT already had a solid fan base. But, TV is different, so the stories had to be different, too. They had to attract total strangers to the brand. And, keep them.
That leads to the first step in the process. You must create and market enticing stories. Curiosity must be piqued, and then rewarded in an endless cycle that gets – and keeps – people talking.
Further, in order to turn your viewers into fans, you have begin developing a culture within the culture. Not just book people and TV people, but people who LOVE Game of Thrones. You do this by creating a shared language, and by inserting shared questions and creating shared emotional trauma and catharsis. Red Wedding, anyone?
Speaking of the Red Wedding, your narrative must have defining moments that even cursory fans can regurgitate at a moment’s notice. Even if they don’t know the names of all the characters involved, they need to be so excited about the narrative that they can’t stop talking about it.
Those conversations then go on to create a sort of cultural shorthand among users that allow people to know each other and connect in less than a sentence. R+L=J, right?
Once in motion, these steps not only keep the properties popular and profitable, but they allow for expanded worlds (product lines) spin-offs (next gen tech) and ongoing fan base interaction.