The Star Wars brand is approaching 38 billion in revenue*.
That is more than the combined net worth of Phil Knight ($24.4 billion) and Elon Musk ($13.3 billion) who are the founders of Nike and PayPal/Tesla/Space X. **
The newest Star Wars movie “The Force Awakens” has already sold 50 million in pre-sale ticket revenue which is a new record.
That is some serious customer loyalty that spans four decades.
Let’s dive into 5 lessons learned from Star Wars on customer loyalty.
Lesson 1 : The Jedi Code
The Jedi Code is a set of rules that govern the Jedi Order. These in many ways are similar to the values and mission statements you see in many businesses.
Star Wars is extremely far out there yet at the same time the plot lines are similar to our own lives.
We all have a code we live by. We all understand that it isn’t always easy to stay true to your values in the face of temptation.
In Star Wars the temptation is the “Dark Side” and in business the temptation can be to lower your integrity or standards to increase profits.
The Jedi Code resonates with us because we all feel similar pressure in our own lives.
When a movie (or a business) allows us to see a piece of ourselves in the story, we can’t help but feel attracted to it.
Hint: Your values are a huge component of your brand blueprint
Lesson 2 : Complementary Offerings
Of the $37.5 billion in total revenue to date, only $4.5 billion is from box office sales.
Merchandise has accounted for $32 billion in total sales.
Of course the added income is nice, but the merchandise also helps to keep Star Wars relevant and increases customer loyalty.
Instead of just watching the first movie and forgetting about it. People were buying shirts, toys, and games and keeping the brand front and center.
Those merchandise sales helped to bankroll “The Empire Strikes Back” but also kept fans engaging with the brand.
Think about complementary offerings for your business. What kind of add-ons (or even free gifts) can you create to not only increase revenue but to keep your brand top of mind.
A branded coffee mug with purchase or a free 30 day check-up are examples of keeping your brand in view.
Lesson 3 : Tension = Attention
This is a well known marketing tactic that can help keep attention.
Luke Skywalker finds out Darth Vader is his father and a lot of tension and internal conflict are created.
The Jedi Code is challenged by the internal instincts of the father-son relationship.
This is extremely gripping to watch and grabs our attention.
A common business mistake is to avoid any kind of conflict or tension. Most businesses try and put forward a perfect image and it’s not believable nor interesting.
It’s ok to admit to the downside because it gives credibility to the upside.
If you’re pricing is higher… speak to that. Talk about the torment you felt when deciding between lessening the product or keeping the pricing.
That tension creates attention, while they’re giving you their attention you can sneak in opportunities to show them your values and what you stand for.
Lesson 4 : Opening loops
The story between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader is not opened and closed in one movie. It stretches over three movies and little cliffhangers are created that make you wonder what will happen going forward.
Most soap operas do this too.
They open up loops in your mind right before a commercial break to keep your attention and make sure you don’t change the channel. They close the loop when the show comes back from commercial break.
This is a repeatable pattern with movies and television to keep us coming back for more. Cliffhangers are the same thing as opening a loop.
For your business you can increase customer loyalty by opening loops. Earlier in the post we mentioned a “30 day checkup”. Many times these are used to provide better service but also opportunities to reengage the customer.
Initiatives like this only work if the customer is aware that they exist and understand the importance.
This applies when asking for reviews online as well.
You need to open up that loop for the customer so they know it is important to your business.
You can close the loop with a thank-you card after you see the review online.
Tip: Email newsletters are a terrific medium for opening up new loops with current and past customers to get them to reengage your brand.
Lesson 5 : The power of beliefs
Beliefs are powerful. For Star Wars there is an underlying theme of “The Force.”
Not many people believe in The Force, but most believe in a higher power.
It’s not a far leap to see ourselves in Luke Skywalker as he grows and develops in his beliefs.
People want to see his growth as a Jedi… which means watching the next movie.
For your business, your beliefs can be used to create a bond with people who see the world in a similar way. A great place to do this is your About Us page.
In a recent blog post we covered how you can use your beliefs to create a bond with your website visitor.