Break the Rules – Why Katniss Everdeen is a Marketing Role Model

This month I’m rebelling against digital marketing best practice and breaking one of my golden rules!

‘Thou shall be consistent with your brand, tone and voice across all social media platforms’

Those of you connected with me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ may have already noticed that my avatar and bio are looking a little different to usual!

Sometimes in all the noise you need to do something to stand out, even if that involves breaking ‘the rules’.

A real game changing moment in the first Hunger Games novel, and an iconic moment in the film, is when Katniss Everdeen shoots her arrow into the games makers viewing gallery. She’s tired of being ignored and, as the arrow skewers the apple in the pig mouth narrowly missing several games officials, her act of defiance certainly gets her noticed!

So here I am, shooting my arrow, and hoping to make an impression!

Have a Reason to Rebel

I’m changing my avatars and bios for one month, to reflect a massive guilty pleasure of mine.

I’m a sucker for teen fiction, especially if it involves a plucky female lead and anything to do with the supernatural or future.

It started with Buffy (which I still regularly revisit on Netflix), briefly dallied with Angel, and in more recent times have been drawn into the books and then the films of Twilight, Divergence and Hunger Games.

I know I’m a thirty something business owner and mother and really not their target market but hey, the heart likes what the heart likes.

So why am I outing myself quite so publicly and why am I re-branding my social presence for the month?

People connect with your passions, either through a shared interest or just through someone talking passionately about something, it’s inspiring and uplifting.

I love helping companies tell their stories through blogging and social media, and I’m passionate about it. That passion comes from a love of literature, my father was an English literature professor and bedtime stories were a big deal in our house.

So Is the Rule I’m Breaking Such a Big Deal (and if so, is breaking it worth it)?

I wanted to share an article about these passions. And, just like Katniss, I like to break the rules from time to time.

Hunger games is full of rule breakers; you have your obvious ones like Katniss, Peter and Gale, but it’s a theme that runs all the way through. Cinna hiding the Mockingjay pin on Katniss’s games outfit, Thresh not killing Katniss (as thanks for Rue), Boggs giving the Halo to Katniss. It’s a story about renegades and rule breakers.

Whenever I give a presentation on social media, or talk to clients about it, I always harp on about the importance of consistency. It helps with brand identity and builds trust in your community.  Just Google ‘Social Media Consistency’, there’s a ton of articles telling you why it’s so important (but that’s not the point of this article).

I’m breaking the consistency rule so I can share something I’m passionate about, in the hope others connect with it.

Other Blogging and Social Media ‘Rules’ You Might Want to Break

So I’m breaking the ‘always be consistent’ rule, but there are plenty of others out there that you may want to rebel against.

In the same way that Katniss must perform for the audience of the Hunger Games, we’re told to:

 “Write for your target audience.”

We’re continually told to know our audience and write for them. Coming up with constant content for other people can be at the least tricky, and more often just plain soul destroying.

Remember that your audience comes and stays for what you have to say. Your voice, values and opinions are what they’ll connect to and what will keep them coming back.

Find what in your industry interests you and write about that. Or find a way of connecting what you do to another passion, like in this article.

Katniss doesn’t fight or kill other tributes for the sake of it, but when she does, she does it to great effect. Being consistently good is as important as being consistent.

“You need to write 2 blog articles a week.”

We’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it’s true – quality over quantity. Yes it’s nice to constantly be putting out articles, and it definitely helps grow your community.

Putting out a dud can quickly lose you fans. At Spotty we have a trello board full of blog ideas so we’re rarely stuck for inspiration, but client work can mean we’re short on time.

Rather than stick to a rigid timetable, and putting out a poor article, we’d rather give ourselves time to craft something we’re truly proud of. Regardless of what digital marketing rules we may be breaking!

“Constantly post on social media.”

This is similar to the one above, don’t post for the sake of posting. You’re followers will get annoyed by the banality of it. Spend some time finding people who inspire you, follow them and subscribe to their blogs, then you’ll have interesting things to share (along with your own articles).

If it’s a quiet few days don’t worry, check in with the people you’re following and engage with them. Don’t get caught up in a numbers game of followers and tweets, engagement is far more valuable. Respond to tweets and comments, thank people for sharing your posts and have conversations.

Katniss has her bow and arrow, but she’s still pretty effective with a knife!

 “Find a niche and stick to it.”

Be wary of the niche game. My niche is blog writing and social media support, my niche is not a client from a certain sector or industry.

I work in a shared barn with other creatives (web designers, developers and graphic designers). I’m always amazed when one of them doesn’t get a project because they haven’t produced work for that sector before.

That would be a selling point for me. I’d know the ideas would be fresh, not formulaic, that I’d get something unique rather than fitting into a mould, that’d I’d stand out rather than fit in.

I have legal firms, tech experts, manufacturers and even pubs as clients. I’m constantly being challenged to look at things from new angles and find the stories that people will connect to.

“Don’t contain your spark, let it catch fire.”

I read a great article by Jeff Goins called Get More Followers by Breaking the Rules. In it he looks at being controversial to get more engagement, after all

“There are way too many lame messages out there. Way too much crap for you to play it safe. We need you to be dangerous.

Pick a side. Stand for something. Some will love you for it, and others will try to stone you.”

Thank You for Your Consideration

Rules, guidelines, best practices, are helpful – especially when you’re just setting out on your journey into the blogosphere and world of social media.

But don’t be afraid to veer from that path, to break away and try something new.

Katniss did play by the rules sometimes, when it suited her. Just pick and choose your battles!

We’d love to hear which rules you’ve tried, only to find that ‘breaking them’ had more successful results. Or if you’re now inspired to release your inner Katniss! Please share in the comments below.

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  • Charles Anthony

    Interesting post. I’ve never read or seen the Hunger Games so I’m not familiar with the characters, however I agree that original artists learn skills following established rules and then, when they’ve mastered them, break them in order to create something more original. After all you can’t discover new frontiers without crossing existing boundaries!

    • http://www.spotty-octopus.com Lucy Becker

      Thanks for the comment Charles, I’m glad you found value in the article even without being familiar with the inspiration behind it. Here’s to crossing boundaries!