Article

Ben Hollom
Ben Hollom 25 October 2016

Stranger Things – Content Marketing Lessons From The Upside Down

This supernatural thriller series created enough of a stir amongst the Netflix community that a second season is now in the process. But it also created a stir in my mind as I registered a few little lessons this highly successful series could teach us about content marketing…

As much as you probably think that I eat, breathe and sleep content, there are times when even the most dedicated marketer needs to Netflix and chill… I’ve used that phrase right, haven’t I? It literally means to watch relax in front of the TV watching Netflix, right?

If you’re anything like the vast majority of the population and enjoy the occasional binge-watching session, you’re likely to have registered the buzz around one of the streaming service’s smash hit series’ this summer – the mysterious world of ‘Stranger Things’.

Winona

For the uninitiated, ‘Stranger Things’ is a supernatural series bursting at the seams with 80s nostalgia; a homage to some of the best-loved cult sci-fi movies of the past where fans can nerd out on references to the likes of ET, Dungeons and Dragons, and The Goonies. This supernatural thriller series created enough of a stir amongst the Netflix community that a second season is now in the process. But it also created a stir in my mind as I registered a few little lessons this highly successful series could teach us about content marketing…

1. Throwbacks work

Sometimes it works to do the opposite of what your instincts are telling you, and as a content marketer, the urge to come up with something risky, dynamic and new to make your mark can be a strong one.

However, why not instead take a leaf from the successful content of the past and rework it into something new for your audience?

Stranger Things capitalised on the success of films like ET whilst offering audiences something new and interesting to sink their teeth into. Why shouldn’t you do the same with your content?

To ensure your content strategy continues to develop effectively, it’s essential to keep a weather-eye on the past to check what’s worked for your brand and what has sunk without a trace. Identify your top-performing posts of the past and use them to inform your content of the future.

ET

2. Think quality not quantity

If you’ve been known to binge-watch a series in one go (don’t be ashamed, a 2013 Netflix survey revealed that 61% of viewers identify as binge-watchers), you’ll understand what an immersive experience it is.

In fact, the immersion does not simply end when you’ve finished a session. Instead there’ll be snippets, teasers, promos on the horizon – an array of content to suck you into the next episode or season.

The strategy for creating hype around ‘Stranger Things’ was expertly done, proving in one fell swoop that small-scale and high-quality trumps an inundation of low-quality, churned out content every time.

Creative efforts from Netflix included a broadcast on live streaming site Twitch where fans could take part in an interactive experience set in the basement featured on the show. The four-hour live stream ended with an eight minute teaser of the pilot episode, proving that quality not quantity in marketing, always wins the day.

Handshake

3. Tug on those heartstrings

As previously mentioned, ‘Stranger Things’ is rooted in 70s and 80s nostalgia – a feature of the show which can’t fail to elicit a grin from everyone who grew up watching those movies, wearing those clothes and using those retro products (what kid didn’t want a walkie-talkie?).

Why?

Because it makes us feel all gooey inside.

Nostalgia marketing is a strategy which, according to Forbes, “taps into positive cultural memories from previous decades, designed to drive energy to modern campaigns” – these positive memories make us feel emotion, they tug on our heartstrings. And once an audience is emotionally invested in your brand, they’ll be much more likely to trust in you when it comes to spending their hard-earned money on goods and services. You make them feel good.

The Forbes article goes on to point out that nostalgia marketing works especially well on Millennials – the power-spenders of the future. It overcomes the potentially detached and impersonal relationships that can so easily occur in the social media world they’re so used to by humanising your brand and forging meaningful, authentic connections.

Stranger Things

Hmm… when you get to the stage you’re seeing the marketing lessons in your favourite boxset maybe it means you eat, breathe and sleep content after all.

If your business could do with a boost in its content marketing efforts, contact us at M2 Bespoke to find out what we can do to help.

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