22 Apr 2022

Don’t limit your growth, evolve your strategy

Back in the 1970s, a young film director and producer had a dream. It was beyond anything that had ever been conceived before; a three-part space opera that would, contrary to other sci-fi films, take place ‘a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away’. When sci-fi’s popularity was growing and dreams of a high-tech future were common, taking a new direction with a popular theme seemed like a strange plan.

But it paid off. Because, clearly that director / producer was George Lucas, and the film was Star Wars.

There is a link to marketing and strategy development here, so bear with me.

Throughout my PR and marketing career, I’ve met with and spoken to a lot of business owners who were happy with their in-house marketing function, or their incumbent agency. That box, from a corporate strategy perspective, was ticked. But that doesn’t mean that team is working effectively. Sometimes a new direction is what is needed, and that new direction often comes from someone new. Something new.

I’ve worked with a number of marketing and communications agencies, and while they all have their own USPs, nowhere have I found this to be more significant than at MRA. Many agencies will ask about a company’s strategy and develop a marketing plan to deliver towards that strategy. At MRA, we help our clients to develop a new strategy, to cut through the noise and reach new markets and inherently reposition the sector in which they operate and how people see the products or solutions they deliver.

Again, bear with me, this is going to flit somewhat between marketing and Star Wars, but in the end it will make sense, I promise.

When George Lucas was trying to get support and funding for Star Wars, he had to work harder as the concept was so different to what had been done before. To help him in this, he recruited an artist called Ralph McQuarrie who, as it turned out, was an incredible listener as well because when George Lucas talked him through his ideas, the concept art Ralph came up with are nearly indistinguishable from the films that so many of us love. Because Ralph didn’t think anyone would stump up enough money to make the films, he didn’t hold back in his concept art.

The result: a set of concept art so inspiring, the funding came and the film was made. And not just the one, but the second and third were also commissioned. Then a prequel trilogy. And a sequel trilogy. Stand-alone spin offs, numerous animated series’, and now live action series’ that are proving as popular with fans around the world. Challenge the status quo and the sky (or the stars) are quite literally the limit

And all because George and Ralph did something differently. So good was Ralph’s art that when George couldn’t explain something to set designers or other members of the crew, he’d simply point at Ralph’s art and say ‘do it like this’.

Instead of doing what everyone else did, they turned things on their head, devised a new direction, a new strategy and went for it. I think it’s safe to say they never looked back.

Most film-makers don’t see the need to commission concept art like George did. Many business owners think their marketing teams are driving forward with the best strategy. But sometimes, it pays to think outside of the box and be brave enough to ask: ‘why not try a new direction?’

MRA has a proven track record in developing new strategies and opening up new markets and untapped revenue streams, because we have that spark that makes us question and look at possible new directions.

Why not give us a call and find our what insight we might have for your sector and your business?

Oh, and just for interest, here’s a link to the concept art Ralph McQuarrie created. Any Star Wars fan will recognise many scenes from his artwork alone.

by Toby Aiken, Account Director

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