Eliseon's Marketing Wizards' Blog

Business Wizardry: How Harry Potter Can Boost Your Business

Like the rest of the world, I am anticipating the release of the last of the Harry Potter films.  Feels like saying goodbye, but in a good way, like when you graduate college.

I started thinking about what was it that made Harry Potter so successful, and how those same principals could be applied to any business model, regardless of the magic that is your product or service.



The answer?  Well it’s not as much of a DOH! moment as you might think and it wasn’t just the work of some superstar direct marketing copywriter.  One of the reasons for Harry’s appeal is his status as the underdog.  Most of us want to root for the underdog, because most of us, at the least those of us who are human, can totally relate to that feeling.

Another reason for his world wide stardom is of course the whole ‘across the pond’ idea – we love all things British…the accents, the landscapes, tea and crumpets, and their adoration of The Queen…

It’s just all so very Jane Austen and  romantic, even when dueling at Hogwarts…

Then there’s the catchy new words and names like “Quidditch”, “Dumbledore”, and ” Hogwarts”.  Very entertaining and thought-provoking, to say the least!

However, I think the best reason  is the fantastical aspect of the story lines and the whole Good vs. Evil angle that we humans are so drawn to.

…but even behind all that Ms. Rowling based Harry’s Magical world in reality.  The whole the punishment must fit the crime.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction….

….those same ideas and principals can be applied to any business model.



The answer:  several things actually…

1.  Generate attention and anticipation.  Warner Bros. released four different sets of movie posters, published over several months.  The same with the movie trailers.  Each set of posters and trailers were teasers creating curiosity and built up the hype and anticipation.  So when the books and films were finally released, it was madness and mayhem to be the first one in line.

2.  Use of Word-of-Mouse.  The Harry Potter marketing machine  used the Internet to expand and capitalize on their brand by way of blogs, webcasts, websites, e-announcements, e-mails, etc.

There used to be three rules of Advertising, but now, thanks to technology and the geniuses behind the Harry Potter brand, there are four:

  • Old Rule:  Buy your way in with Advertising (posters, print ads, etc.)
  • Old Rule:  Beg your way in
  • Old Rule:  Buy your way in by selling something (or someone)
  • New Rule:  Earn attention by publishing your way in (via internet).


Interesting factoid: When getting ready to start the marketing campaign for the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios, Cindy Gordon garnered attention and anticipation by telling just 7 people…Yes, just seven people.  She put her career on the line with this move, and it paid off handsomely. She, along with Warner Bros., and authoress J.K. Rowling, picked 7 of the top bloggers in the world and held a secret midnight webcast where Ms. Gordon told the ‘Magnificent 7’ about the upcoming theme park.  Naturally those bloggers immediately told their followers, then the main stream media picked up on the story. Within 24 hours approximately 350 million people world-wide knew of the new theme park.  The cost of this brilliant advertising move: the cost of the monthly fee for hi-speed internet connection.


Harry Potter - behind the scenes with the crew


Another thing to note in the success of the Harry Potter business magic is the film crews…the people behind the scenes working to produce and create those fantastical scenes that keep us literally spellbound in our $10 seats at the theater with our $8 tub of popcorn and $6 extra large Coke.

Everyone on the filming crews worked together – it was a team.  Here’s a sneak peek at some of the behind-the-scenes things that went on on the HP film sets to make it all come together, like magic:

1.  Everyone LOVED their job.  Yes, there were times of aggravation and a bazillion mundane tasks to do, but the people genuninely loved what they were doing.

2.  Everyone had an opportunity and were encouraged to the the best job they could possibly do. They all knew they mattered.

3.  A little healthy rivalry.  Nothing mean-spirited, more like let’s-see-who-can-do-this-the-best-or-the-fastest-with-no-mistakes.  Everyone put in 110%, and what did they do? Nothing short of creating the stunning masterpieces we are enraptured with on the big screen.

4.  Loyalty:  everyone is dependent upon each other for success.

5.  Success breeds success.  When a job is well done, success is the reward.  Your crew will continue to work and strive for greatness, to make the next project even better than the last, so that success keeps going. It’s like a drug.




Viral Marketing. Such a yummy buzz word in the online business world.

As with just about everything in this life from business to childbirth, everything depends on Timing – and it’s no different with viral marketing.

Timing the launch of a new product or service can be tricky, unless you know your market.  Know their wants, needs, desires, and tailor your Viral Marketing campaign around that.

You can build the want and need through some well-done videos, blogs, e-announcements, e-mails, etc.  Build up to the climax. Don’t think sex just yet. Yes, sex sells, but that ain’t what I’m talkin’ bout Willis…

So put the hooker heels back on the top shelf to continue collecting dust.

Warner Bros. and most major companies use teaster campaigns like posters, trailers, etc. to build the anticipation to the launch of a new product. So in a way, it is kinda like sex…it’s all about the foreplay [for women at least], then finally the climax – OH GOD!

Yes, business can be just as gratifying as sex if done right. (Gasp)

So here’s some steps to get you on the right path:

  1. Know your market.  What is it that is going to make them go absolutely ga-ga??
  2. Build anticipation through blogs, e-mails, e-announcements, videos on YouTube (*note: videos should be 3 min. or less)
  3. Offer exclusive first looks or free products/services that you offer to a set number of people…say the first 1,000 to pre-order, etc.

So, in short, be a Magician in the business world…everyone loves a Wizard. Just look at Harry Potter!

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