Ten years ago, the Toronto Underground Cinema hosted the first organized celebration of Star Wars Day, and while this wasn’t the first time the words “May the 4th Be With You” were coined (you can thank Margaret Thatcher for that—seriously), it did spark the beginning of a worldwide annual celebration for Star Wars fans everywhere.
Even Disney has embraced the day by hosting Star Wars Day events and festivities at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and (in recent years) choosing May 4th for major Star Wars-related releases, like Clone Wars, Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian.
Spreading the word (of memes)
Star Wars Day is by far one of the most successful word-of-mouth (WOM) and user-generated-content (UGC) social media sensations the internet has ever seen. The celebration’s main hashtags, #MayThe4thBeWithYou and #StarWarsDay, have more than 3.4 million trending posts on Instagram and Twitter every year.
According to Unmetric, Star Wars Day content grew by 5,500% between 2012 and 2018. Pretty good for a story a lot of people/critics said would fail at the beginning.
But isn’t this every brand’s dream? To create a following so loyal they make up their own fan-made holiday, build their own viral content, and entice every big brand out there to jump on the bandwagon? We’ll take some of that clout, please!
“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
So, how do you accomplish this level of notoriety for your brand? Well, you only have to invest billions of dollars and 40+ years into making prequels, sequels, standalone films, animated films, TV series, books, comics, merchandise and spark a cult following. Should be easy, right?
Obviously, this isn’t a realistic goal for the average brand. However, building a loyal community of followers is possible. You just have to focus your efforts in a clear and strategic way.
Here are a few hard and fast rules you can follow to start:
- Provide stellar customer service
- Tell a unique brand story that evokes emotion
- Incentivize your customers/clients (à la Starbucks rewards program, one of the most popular loyalty programs in the world)
- Become familiar to your audience (it won’t take a dozen blockbuster films, we promise)
- Engage with your customers/clients regularly
If the success of #MayThe4thBeWithYou and #StarWarsDay shows us anything, it’s that brands that possess a fiery dedication for what they do, make it further in the long run.
Even if you play by all the ‘rules’, in order to truly build a loyal community of followers who become brand advocates, you’ll need to invest your time, be consistent, and most of all, be strategic.
If you’re passionate about your product or service and need an impactful strategy to build community, our team of experts would be excited to work with you and help your brand harness the force that is UGC.