By Kaitlyn Lambert, Account Executive
After years of twists and turns, emotionally-charged speeches, and violent battle-scenes, the Game of Thrones television series has come to end. While the show’s final season has been controversial and fans will likely argue the finer points of character arcs for some time, one thing is clear, and that is the power and influence that a story can have.
In a time of unprecedented access to entertainment on demand, and near constant distractions Game of Thrones somehow captured the minds and attention of an enormous group of people, and, for a moment, those people were united and captivated by a single story.
Game of Thrones and its ability to break through the noise of the modern world and capture the attention of so many people is a great lesson for those in PR who are seeking the same success. The most successful PR professionals are good storytellers, and they know how to tell a story in a way that grabs and holds attention. There’s one way, in particular, that Game of Thrones excelled at storytelling and holding onto the audience’s attention, and that is appealing to the viewers’ emotions. If there’s one storytelling takeaway that PR professionals can gain from Game of Thrones, it is the importance of appealing to the emotions of your intended audience.
Why did so many people tune in to Game of Thrones every Sunday? It doesn’t impact their lives whatsoever who sits on the fictional Iron Throne in the fictional world of Westeros, but you wouldn’t know that by talking to some of the series’ most enthusiastic fans. That’s because the Game of Thrones show writers (and George R.R. Martin- author of the books) excel at appealing to the reader/viewer’s emotional side. It makes the triumphs of characters feel incredibly personal and their losses all the more devastating.
To cut through today’s media noise, PR professionals need to focus on appealing to the emotions of their audience. If they don’t hit on a reader’s emotions, their story isn’t going to be remembered or further explored.
Making stories relatable to your audience is going to help you capture more attention. Viewers of Game of Thrones may have seen their own struggles to find their place in the world when watching Arya’s storyline (and then were able to celebrate in her triumph in later seasons) or maybe they saw their own determination and drive in Cersei Lannister as she fought to protect her family.
In this way, PR professionals need to demonstrate the “so what” in whatever story they’re trying to tell. Why does this message matter to its intended audience? How do you make the intended audience feel that the information you’re conveying, the story that you’re telling, is relevant to them? How can you make your audience connect to your story in a more personal way?
If PR professionals ask themselves these questions when strategizing or drafting communications, they will see more success as they connect with their audience. Storytelling can be incredibly powerful if done correctly, and the best stories will capture attention in a way that helps the story grow and reach new audiences.
The Game of Thrones writers have made many nods to the importance of stories throughout the series, both through the usage and discussion of books and diaries and the tradition of oral storytelling used throughout the series. Perhaps the biggest nod to storytelling itself came in the series finale. As Tyrion put it “What Unites people. Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.”