Many companies have used autumn’s sights, sounds, and flavors to build their brands. As the days get colder and the nights grow longer, you could look to the season’s spookier side for inspiration for your own branding efforts. Halloween isn’t just a time for trick-or-treaters and scary stories. It also means big business, and many of the holiday’s most popular films offer important lessons for any marketer. So turn down the lights, grab some popcorn, and get ready to learn from the horror (and marketing) masters!
What You Can Learn About Branding from the Most Popular Halloween Movies
The secret to a successful brand could be waiting for you in these 13 Halloween classics.
1. Halloween - Make Your Brand Synonymous With the Industry
Halloween often conjures images of knife-wielding madmen in white masks, but that’s only because the movie "Halloween" successfully hijacked it. Make your brand a synonym for the products or services you offer, and your brand could always be top-of-mind for consumers, just like Kleenex for tissue or “googling” for performing an internet search.
2. Ghostbusters - A Great Slogan or Jingle Can Take Your Branding to the Next Level
Thanks to their unforgettable theme song, everyone knows who to call when something strange appears in their neighborhood. A simple jingle could help customers remember who you are and what you offer when they need you most. Maybe you’ll even get lucky to get “stuck in their head” from time to time.
3. Nightmare Before Christmas - Know Your Target Audience and Niche
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to market your products to an audience that isn't suited for them. Like Jack Skellington’s ill-fated attempt to bring his Halloween aesthetic to Christmas Town, make sure your marketing efforts will appeal to your intended audience.
4. The Blair Witch Project - Focus on Quality Content
Presented as a documentary stitched together from the found footage of ill-fated film students, the Blair Witch Project had a $60,000 budget and became one of the most successful independent films in history. Despite this, the concept was fresh and original, and its simple approach to scary resonated with audiences worldwide.
5. Young Frankenstein - Treat Your Brand Like a Person
After a successful re-animation experiment, Dr. Frankenstein’s creation breaks loose from his castle and causes trouble for the neighboring townspeople. However, the monster calms down once Dr. Frankenstein treats him like a person. Highlight your brand’s human aspects to better connect with customers.
Related: How to Make Your Brand More Human
6. Beetlejuice - Be Careful When Hiring Outside Advisors
After being summoned to end a seance gone wrong, Beetlejuice soon wreaks havoc on a small town. Likewise, if you’re looking to an outside company to assist with your branding efforts, make sure both parties know their responsibilities and maintain clear communication at all times.
7. Night of the Living Dead - Persistence is Key
The zombies in this film just kept coming, and nothing seemed able to stop them. Likewise, make sure your marketing efforts are similarly persistent to stay top-of-mind with potential customers. A steady stream of blogs, videos, or even tweets could be enough to make your followers convert.
8. Donnie Darko - Be Original and Daring
It’s tempting to play it safe with your marketing, but you could cultivate a devoted following by embracing your brand’s metaphorical time-traveling, rabbit-costumed harbinger of doom. An audacious marketing campaign may inspire brand intrigue and loyalty.
9. 28 Days Later - Prepare to Go Viral
A virus that turns people into brain-eating zombies isn’t the only thing that could go viral. Your content could easily reach thousands of people all over the world if you try sharing it with key influencers on social media.
10. The Shining - Emphasize Your Value
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and the same goes for your company. Like the movie’s protagonist, you could lose focus in the day-to-day grind. Put your company’s added value front and center in your marketing campaigns to instantly distinguish yourself from competitors.
11. Scary Movie - Don’t be Afraid to Satirize
Sometimes the most effective marketing campaigns are the ones that satirize something. Scary Movie’s horror-film mash-up approach made it a smash hit. You could give the same knowing wink to your audience by playing on common assumptions about your product.
12. The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Create a Community (Or a Cult)
One of the best ways to keep your customers coming back for more is to create a community around your product. Like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is regularly re-enacted in theaters across the world, you could inspire a similarly devoted following for your product.
13. Nosferatu - Keep Track of Your Costs
A marketing campaign could easily blow your budget if you aren't careful. Keep track of your cost of acquisition for every new client with every strategy you use. Otherwise, you might have to deal with your own version of Transylvanian vampires who want to drink your blood.
Building your brand is an ongoing project, so keep an eye out for ideas to help you throughout the year.