Use The Force of co-creation

Star Wars is a global phenomenon, and with the seventh and most recent film release it is one which is showing no signs of stopping even 39 years since the first film. However, although there are now seven films and a myriad of official related brand items, merchandise, spin-offs, etc. the real power of the Star Wars brand can be appreciated through The Force of its fan-created content.

A recent article on Star Wars reminded me of why the brand has become such a loved and embraced entity. Yes, the films are watched and enjoyed by millions. Yes, the merchandise is consumed by the truck-load (or the Millenium Falcon -load). But the real value of the Star Wars brand can be seen in the universe that was created for the films, the wider brand elements that people have bought into emotionally and explore themselves.

The Star Wars brand has become so much more than the created content that people passively consume — although of course this is a large part of it. Where the Star Wars brand comes to life is in the fan-created content — the unofficial and unlicensed films, images, gifs, storyline offshoots, and much more. The Star Wars brand has a story, but more importantly than that it has an environment that people can engage with, take elements from, and create their own stories to then share with others.

As the BBC article says, ‘Fan fiction is a fascinating phenomenon — works, mostly on the internet, that tell new stories about existing characters.’ ‘Consumption and creation blur in this rich new ecosystem.’

Of course, not all (or in fact any) brands have the potential to be another Star Wars. Are people going to be as interested in creating content for your organisation as they in creating a new short film or a music video with dancing stormtroopers? Probably not, but that is missing the point. The point is that if you can begin to shape an open brand and an environment that people can share in key elements of — such as your ethos, purpose, ambition — then you may be able to develop a more active community around your brand.

An active community is always going to be more passionate about your brand than a passive audience. The aim for businesses and organisations is to explain to people why they might find value in being actively involved with your brand.

Image still from Star Wars Daddy

Read the Star Wars BBC article

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