In the fight for the Iron Throne, the great Houses of Westeros use similar branding tactics as real-life businesses. Branding is the backbone of most successful businesses and it plays a huge part in Game of Thrones. Here’s how it’s done across the seven Kingdoms…
Slogans are powerful
In just a few words, a slogan can say a lot about a business. Not only are slogans great for communicating strong messages but they can also be unique to brands and memorable to customers.
In order to create in-depth characters with extensive backgrounds, George R. R. Martin (a.k.a. literary god) branded the houses of the seven Kingdoms with words that perfectly depict their storylines and even their lifestyles.
For generations, house Stark has lived by the words “winter is coming” and now that winter has arrived, our beloved Jon Snow (a.k.a. King of the North) must save the lords and ladies of the realm from the Night King and the army of the dead.
Since the first episode aired, the slogan has warned both house Stark and the viewers that winter is indeed coming, and that the Starks of Winterfell have major parts to play in defeating the White Walkers.
The slogan laid the groundwork a very long time ago and now, all we can hope is for Dany to pull her finger out, stop asking Jon to bend the knee and fight the battle that she was destined to fight.
In the real world, some of the biggest names in the industry use instantly recognisable slogans. For example: “Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it” is still remembered in the UK even though it was axed back in 2013 and replaced with “Let’s go” to reflect a new direction for the company.
Logos can tell a story
The Lannisters of Casterly Rock (minus Tyrion) are up there with all the things we hate most. Right above sandals with socks, flight delays and public displays of affection.
Why? Because house Lannister is responsible for most of the realms’ misfortune and all of our tears and frustration as viewers. Remember the Great Sept of Baelor? The red wedding? Lady and the butcher’s boy?
Yep, you don’t want to be in a Lannister’s bad books. Worn like a badge of honour, their sigil (or logo, in real terms) is a golden lion on a crimson field, which suits house Lannister for three reasons:
- Lannisters are known to have golden hair.
- Like a lion, Lannisters are fierce and have a reputation for devouring their prey.
- The crimson field can be compared to bloodshed, and we all know that a Lannister enjoys bloodshed.
This isn’t just a coincidence, it’s clever branding. Using a graphic symbol that represents your business and reflects your values can enhance your reputation as an industry leader (or in this case, as a house to avoid like the plague if you enjoy life). It can also differentiate you from the competition without using any words at all which is a powerful way to connect with an audience.
Qantas Airways, the national airline of Australia, is a great example of this in the real world. Having been redesigned five times since its inception in 1944, the Qantas logo represents the spirit of Australia with culture and history.
The idea behind the Qantas logo (which features a white kangaroo on a red background) was originally adapted from the Australian one penny coin and has been the inspiration behind all of the Qantas logo redesigns.
Consistency is key
In Game of Thrones and business, remaining consistent is one of the most important parts of branding. Naturally, it’s also one of the toughest.
By now, we know that it doesn’t end well for inconsistent characters. Take Robb Stark, for example. Like his father, he was a noble man. But Robb took the wrong turn when he fell in love with Lady Talisa and broke his oath to the slimey Walder Frey. Breaking an oath was out of character and it ultimately cost him his life.
One of the most consistent characters is Daenerys Targaryen. Even though we’ve seen her character evolve from a timid young woman to the mother of dragons, her values have always remained the same. She’s now reaping the benefits of three huge dragons and enough men to take back the Iron Throne.
It goes to show that swaying away from your personal brand has consequences. Branding conveys the personality of your business and being inconsistent can confuse customers. If a customer has reason to doubt your brand, they are not likely to use it.
Keep up with the times
It’s important for brands to remain consistent, but we can’t ignore the fact that the world around us is changing. Like the characters from Game of Thrones, businesses must also change to avoid being killed off (or so to speak) in an industry that’s always evolving.
When Arya Stark runs away from Kings Landing at the beginning of the tale, she’s forced to change and adapt in order to survive. We see her evolve from a tom boy into a bad ass assassin, but during her time in Bravos, she never loses sight of who she is and where she comes from, ultimately staying true to her character.
Similarly, the travel industry is seeing more and more customers booking holidays online. Even though there’s still a market for bookings made in person and over the telephone, travel businesses must adapt new technology in order to stay relevant to the huge online market. Check out our online booking solutions if you haven’t already taken this leap.
No matter what happens to our favourite characters, HBO’s hit drama has been branded so well that we can’t stop watching it. Have you picked up on any branding tips from Game of Thrones? Tweet us @billianIT or join the conversation using the hashtag #tech4travel!
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