Marketing in the New Age - Lessons from the Game of Thrones: Anisha Iyer

The marketing world moves at the speed of light. But after the pandemic that speed has further increased as brands are enthusiastically geared up for the festive season. Adgully hosted the third edition of CMOs’ Charcha 2022 in Bengaluru yesterday (August 10, 2022). Keeping in mind the post-pandemic revival story, the theme for CMOs’ Charcha 2022 was ‘The Festive Blueprint for Brands’. 

With businesses and brands bullish on growth, expectations are high for the festival season this year, which will roll out with the Raksha Bandhan-Independence Day-Janmashtami-Ganesh Mahotsav period, before flowing into Onam and forward. As has been the norm over the years, festive season is the period when brands rev up their marketing activities and tap into the positive consumer sentiments. A major part of the annual sales happen during this period. Thus, not surprisingly, all eyes are on the festive season this year, as it would be the marker for how strong the country’s economic revival is post the pandemic and also set the future course of growth. 

Delivering her keynote address on ‘Marketing in the New Age - Lessons from Game of Thrones’, Anisha Iyer, Chief Executive Officer, OMD India, noted that marketing is an art of persuasion and that there are several valuable marketing lessons to be learnt from the highly popular web series ‘Game of Thrones’. According to her Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage, is the most interesting character of ‘Game of Thrones’, thereby beginning her speech by a quote of Tyrion Lannister: “Never forget who you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armour and it can never be used to hurt you”. She correlated this quote to marketing, where self-awareness is the key. From Tyrion, marketers can learn about knowing about the consumers with whom they are dealing with, to know about the language they  use to deal with them, at what time they are most receptive and other details. It is not only about knowing about the consumer data points but to go to the core of it where Tyrion in a particular scene is shown to catch someone at the wall, a thief because his sister was starving, so the next time he faces the person and has a conversation with him, he will have empathy. Iyer pointed out that it is always better to have a backup plan even if a personsalised message is effective by correlating it to a scene from the series where someone who got the crown could not maintain the responsibility, where Tyrion had to think of something else. 

Another lesson from the series is the need to always learn and not falling into the complacency trap and that machine learning or optimisation alone is not enough with human empathy, intelligence,  common sense being very essential. She also mentioned about the importance of sequential communication based on consumer insights and motivations, understanding the various customer touchpoints, where Tyrion looked at the factors of motivations for Bronn before asking him “Will you fight for me?”. Tyrion was at near death situations many a times and he has strategically applied many tactics while dealing with every individual using strategic individualisation. All of the facets of his life – with him being a dwarf, his family hating him – pointed towards him failing in life, but he overcame all those barriers. 

These are edited excerpts. For the complete keynote address watch below:


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