Marketing Lessons Learned from the “Man of Steel”

Superman

He’s back! Superman has returned again in the new film “Man of Steel”. It can’t be easy for Warner Bros. to revamp the Superman brand every couple of years and yet they successfully have. “Man of Steel” is second only to “Iron Man 3” in first weekend box office revenue. So how do they do it? How can a business continue to profit using the same product? Warner Bros. spent a lot of time and money on making the new Superman movie a success so I decided to take a closer look and see how the promotion and reinvention of Superman could be used as marketing lessons learned from the “Man of Steel”.

6 Superman Marketing Strategies

Rebranding: One of the first things Warner Bros. had to do was get people interested in Superman again by making him relevant to fans old and new. So they got a new actor, a fantastic new suit and a director who has had lot of success with action/superhero movies. Basically they gave Superman a facelift. Often businesses wait until their profits are suffering before they give their image a facelift. Through rebranding a company can not only keep their loyal customers but create new ones. My 2-year-old nephew loves Superman just as much as my 75-year-old father, rebranding works.

Be Memorable: If you decided to rebrand your identity be sure to maintain a part of your previous identity to keep it memorable. Like the Superman “S” on his chest your brand must be memorable. Does your company have a “costume” that is easily identifiable. His cape, costume, and the “S” on his chest are all part of his identity. Your brand should be apparent in all aspects of your business, on your promotional products, on your website, and on your printed advertising materials.

Superman logo

The Power of Choice: The new Superman movie also gives the customer choices. The movie is being shown in 2D and 3D. Personally I can’t imagine seeing this movie in anything but 3D, but people like options. Even if the viewing choices are limited to two, the consumer has one. The choices also come with a price difference so customers that are used to paying a certain price for the movies don’t feel like they can’t afford to go anymore. It is important to rebrand and update your business but not at the expense of losing loyal customers. These are the customers that have helped to grow your business and in no way do you ever want to lose them. Companies like AMEX and AAA actually print on their cards how long their customers have been “Members”. Customers want to feel recognized.

Problem Solving: With a quick costume change Superman is ready to save the world. Your business doesn’t have to save the world, but do your goods and services satisfy your customers’ needs? Can you market your business in a way where your clients feel that you have the solutions to their problems? Your customer have a need and you have the solution. Use case studies as a way to show how your product or service is the solution.

Speed: Superman is “faster than a speeding bullet”! Be efficient and responsive in your follow-up, customer service and turnaround. As a result consumers recognize it and return for more.

Superman Speed of Light

Listen: Use your “superman” hearing and listen to your customers’ needs. One way to do this is to conduct surveys or ask for feedback. Free giveaways are a great incentive to encourage feedback. People are more likely to respond if they know they will get something in return.

Who would have thought that analyzing Superman could be beneficial as a business model? The success that “Man of Steel” has seen so far can also translate into success for your own business by taking baby steps towards reimaging and rebranding.

What steps has your company taken towards updating?
How has this been beneficial to your business?

(all images available for download at http://manofsteel.warnerbros.com/index.html?downloads)

66 thoughts on “Marketing Lessons Learned from the “Man of Steel”

  1. It’s always fascinated me how superheroes change with the times in order to be able to become a mirror that reflects back on society. Which, as you point out, is a good lesson for any business model. I’m not so much updating my freelance editing business as I am trying to still figure out what works. However, as I explore the sites of fellow editors, I’ve been amazed by how many still mark-up texts with red ink. That seems hopelessly old-fashioned.
    Jeri recently posted…Travel Inspiration: A Chicago TripMy Profile

  2. Great article Susan and tips. The one thing about Superman movies is they have kept to the simple concept which has lasted over the years. I agree about listening to your customers and one thing I would add is to not only ask about your products or services but also about what they are trying to get done or what an ideal solution would be to their biggest challenge or objective. The reason for this is to open up responsibilities improved or new products or services.
    Susan Oakes recently posted…Attract Customers By Making A Simple ChangeMy Profile

  3. Hello Susan,

    This blog post has helped me in getting the new ideas of doing Marketing and in fact I learned new lessons.

    Regards
    Siddhartha Snha

  4. Hi Susan,

    Great post and I liked the analogy of the superman movie to our business model. Great lessons indeed.

    I agree, customers like to see the same brand if they like it and can relate to it, but they also like to see new looks for the brand and it will even be better if the re-branding meets the customers’ needs and that’s why listening is important and all entrepreneurs should develop the skill of listening to better serve their customers.

    Thanks Susan for sharing a great piece with all of us. Have a great weekend ahead.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat
    Neamat Tawadrous recently posted…6 Tips on Making Transitions In Life!My Profile

  5. These marketing suggestions are spot on. I love the way you used Superman, which has been around forever, yet is still popular with each new generation, to illustrate good marketing strategies.

    • Catarina
      I also feel that there is only one superman which is Christopher Reeves. What is interesting is that superman remains popular today, however in order to do that they needed to rebrand superman. It is a great analogy how we need to change, and improve what we are offering whether products or services.
      Arleen recently posted…Marketing Lessons Learned from the My Profile

  6. You\’re right, Superman has to be one of the longest running franchises. One thing I noticed with this latest incarnation is the unique partnerships – Gillette (how does the man of steel shave?) and then a priceless promo from, all of people, the National Guard. Just tried to post it but the comments section won’t let me. Try googling “Henry Cavill National Guard” – sit back and enjoy! : ))
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…Meet the women of MicroCar North 2013My Profile

  7. I took a few cyber days off and look what I missed… LOL. I do love how you used the Superman brand to remind us of what we need to do today to stay relevant and current. It isn’t always easy but in this fast paced world of ours it is absolutely necessary. it is a great check list to have on hand and to keep in mind.

    It funny how things work. I have been putting together a survey for my blog regarding the changes we have made and are considering. Having a giveaway to accompany it would be a good thing to do to encourage more feedback. Thanks for the reminder to do so. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc 2011My Profile

    • We do have to keep up with the times. We gave out 250 free pens with an order of $500.00 or more. It got very crazy with all the responses. People respond when they are offered something. As great as a contest maybe, people like immediate gratification. You don’t always have to give an item away. If someone takes the survey, possibly offer to refer their site to 25 more people to help out their rankings. Refer their site to a different group of users.
      Arleen recently posted…Marketing Lessons Learned from the My Profile

  8. Hi Susan and Arleen

    I love this analogy of a movie to our businesses and yes there are many lessons there for us all.

    I have not seen the movie as yet but heard only good things. I cannot imagine this re-branded but then we have lived through several James Bonds.

    These are great marketing suggestions.

    Thank you

    Sue
    Sue Price recently posted…Financial Intelligence For Your BusinessMy Profile

    • James Bond is a perfect example of how we were able to accept and embrace re-branding. James Bond movies never skip a beat and is still going strong, so changing the way we do business will be refreshing and maybe improve. Thank you for stopping by.
      Arleen recently posted…Marketing Lessons Learned from the My Profile

  9. I only just noticed the new Superman, maybe it is because it came later to Europe. But it does look quite cool. As you point out – refreshing your brand can make a huge different. Up to date, in with the younger generation, change gets our attentions. Some many great ideas with this concept.

    And I like how you made use of Superman^s powers to get your point across :>
    Ashley F recently posted…WordPress Comments – A comparison of optionsMy Profile

    • Change is good as long as it don’t deviate too much from the original. Change doesn’t effect the younger generation as they like to see things happen. If we take a survey we would find that the youth are the ones that are doing the buying.
      Arleen recently posted…Marketing Lessons Learned from the My Profile

  10. My son and his friends went to the Superman movie as soon as it came out (at midnight), so I suppose the re-branding worked with those college students (also, they don’t remember the old versions as well as we do).

    I have been thinking of re-branding my own business, but I haven’t moved forward with it yet. Too busy working in the business, perhaps.
    Leora recently posted…Yuck! Learn Technical Terms Related to WebsitesMy Profile

  11. This is a great comparison–not to mention very original comparison–about revamping and rebranding. It is amazing how behind the scenes it all is with the super hero movies that continue to come out. I don’t often think of them in terms of how do they do it, but instead I always hear “Oh, there’s a new Super Man movie”.
    Mary Slagel recently posted…6 Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Fitness GoalsMy Profile

  12. Hi Susan and Arleen,

    Now that was a great example of how we can rebrand our businesses if they get to that point or possibly just need a new face lift. Heck they do it to Superman and like Sue said, James Bond. I was thinking that same thing when I read this.

    I’m not a big movie buff anymore and haven’t watched any of these movies in years but I’m sure these new directors are able to spice things up and it is a great example how people can do that with their marketing as well. Gosh I do love analogies in blog posts.

    Thanks for the post ladies and hope you both enjoy a wonderful week.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…Goodbye Google Reader and Hello FeedlyMy Profile

  13. Interesting post! I was wondering – how often do you think is “too often” to re-brand a business? Is there such a thing as “too often?” Certainly I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do it so often that people can’t keep up, but is this something that you’d recommend businesses investigate every 6 months? Every year? Every 2 years?

    • I think it all depends of the state of your business and the product or service you sell and the state of your industry. The story of Superman has been told many many times. So if they wanted it to be successful they had to change it up a bit. Whatever your business is selling has to evolve with the times. Thank you for your comment.
      Arleen/Susan recently posted…Marketing Lessons Learned from the My Profile

  14. These are some great tips! Great points about “speed” and “listening” both are essential when it comes to finding and retaining customers or fans.

  15. I do like the way you link rebranding with something that appeals to a large audience.
    I also think having someone drop dead gorgeous playing superman helps a lot! But that is a personal perspective rather than from my business brain 🙂
    Becc recently posted…Makes your heart burstMy Profile

  16. Branding is important and it’s important to always stay relevant even if it means you need to reinvent yourself.

    If you look at the Oprah brand she’s been in the business for such a long time but always kept herself relevant to today’s world.

    I saw Superman last week and it was a great movie, I really enjoyed it and couldn’t help but wonder how they were going to “reboot” this movie since we’ve seen the earlier Superman movies with Christopher Reeves and the 2006 version with Brandon Routh.

    The James Bond franchise is a perfect example and it’s also an evergreen franchise with the different actors that they have been evolving with.

    Marketing in a sense, isn’t about selling it’s about taking a problem and being able to solve it.

    You’re right, we do not need to be a Superhero to save the world, but when you look at Superman he is great at solving problems. If an enemy came and was hurting the people at Metropolis or if Lex Luther was up to no good, Superman would solve the issue. Very much like what we do as entrepreneurs.

    Great post Arleen!

    • Hi Nate
      The world and technology is moving at such a fast pace that we need to keep reinventing ourselves. I was speaking to an attorney the other day and he was basically a real estate attorney, and when the market went bad he decided to reinvent himself and do estate planning. Branding is an important element.
      I am very pleased that you stopped to view my blog site.
      Arleen recently posted…Become one of the Flying Wallendas for Your BusinessMy Profile

  17. Hi Arleen,

    Just saw your comment come through on the blog. Thanks for visiting and also sharing this wonderful article. It is now on the resource page if you’d like to check it out. Thanks again for submitting your content and sharing your expertise; have a spectacular day!

    xx,
    Martiel

  18. Hi Arleen,

    1. Costumes, capes, letters, choices, speed are not enough. What you have to find is a need that people have and satisfy it.
    Superman is the embodiment of a powerful, fundamental need. It’s not just the cultural need of a hero that protects the weak and innocent. It’s more than that. It’s a religious need that comes from the distant past. The need of a Messiah that will restore paradise on Earth.

    2. I’m sorry to say but the buttons of the plugin do not work. Not even one of them. I lost a comment. This is the second. Please do something to make them work.

    Have a nice day

  19. Wonderful post, Arleen.

    I just saw Man of Steel about 3 weeks ago in 3D and it was a truly awesome movie!

    I like your take on the marketing lessons that can be learned from Superman. I agree with all of your points, especially being fast, memorable and rebranding.

    I went through a re-branding in the very beginning of my blog relaunch last year. I’m glad I decided to pivot so quickly because I think that if I hadn’t my overall business would have suffered because of it.

    I think that my current brand is rather memorable and does well for clearly stating what my blog is about and the purpose of my content and products.

    Speed in marketing is also important as well. Within the first 6 months of my blog relaunch I saw that I was going to have to make some changes if I the full purpose of why I relaunched my blog was going to be fulfilled. So I decided to create my own products, rather than sticking with the affiliate marketing model. I quickly executed my plan and it’s doing rather well.

    You have a great blog here, Arleen; I’m loving what I’ve seen and read so far. I’ll be sure to share this post with my social circle. I’ll also comment and share it on BizSugar.

    Keep the great content coming and I look forward to connecting more with you soon.

    Ti

  20. Nice one. Even the superman gain an influence in business area. Thanks for sharing. I love this.

  21. Very good read! Deserves a share on Twitter!
    I really like the part about re-branding. People are not really understanding that sometimes this is a must to refresh your company identity and to target new prospects etc.

  22. Susan and Arleen,
    excellent blog post, thank you very much for sharing…
    You clearly defined things you can do to rebrand your brand.

    When I was working for a company long known in our region,
    it got into big financial problems because of poor sales.
    They hired PR agency which suggested to change brand name,
    which was old more than 40 years, surely they should read your article!

    A lot of companies don’t understand
    that their brand is extremely worthily.

Comments are closed.