5 Marketing Lessons From Stranger Things (Actually, These Ideas Aren’t So …. Strange)


From Stranger Things to SJC Things, SJC Marketing draws marketing strategy inspiration from the hit show.

If you’ve stayed up too late or neglected some responsibilities to see what happens to the beloved cast of Stranger Things, you’re not alone. The Netflix series has swept the country with its awesome 80s nostalgia and likeable, yet slightly scary, mix of character development and plot twists.

In this SJC blog, we take a look at how Stranger Things can apply to the work we do and the clients we want to serve.

See if any of these ideas inspired by Stranger Things can inspire you and your marketing plan:

1. Sometimes your brand’s personality evolves over time. Let it happen. Don’t expect it to “act” exactly the same, or to be perceived by customers in exactly the same way, all the time. Look at Hopper. Perhaps one of the grittiest characters in the series, Hopper starts out looking like kind of a slob. He’s grumpy. He drinks too much beer at all hours. His place is a complete mess. As the show progresses, we learn that he’s still recovering from the tremendous weight of grief and that he has a pretty fierce nurturing and protective side. As you think about your business brand, are you exactly what you were five years ago? Or 10 years ago or more? Chances are, you’ve evolved and enhanced to align better with customer needs and expectations, without losing sight of your true essence.

2. Loyalty pays off. Remember when Dustin feeds the baby Demogorgon a Three Musketeers candy bar? (It’s delightfully reminiscent of Elliot feeding E.T. Reece’s Pieces back in the 80s.) And then … when he needs help the most … Dustin saves the crew by offering the fully-grown and super aggressive Demogorgon a Three Musketeers from his backpack, so they can pass through the center of the Upside Down. If you offer customers something that works, they’ll keep coming back for it. And this brings us to point number three …

3. Make space for unlikely heroes to emerge. Did anyone perceive that Dustin would be a complete hero? Or even Steve, with all that fantastic hair? Consider your online campaigns. Has a brand advocate risen to the top? If so, encourage and thank this person or persons. They’ve latched onto the problems you’re solving for them and they’re not afraid to share it. If you don’t have a brand advocate, you can tailor your content to try to build one.

4. Your first job may lend some valuable lessons toward connections and leveraging them for success. (Or any job on your journey, for that matter.) Who can forget Steve and Robin, dutifully serving fancy sailboat creations at Scoops Ahoy in the Starcourt Mall? It looks like they’re just serving gum-chewing preteens at an ordinary mall. But … Robin becomes an invaluable connection to everyone when she uses her knowledge of Russian language to help navigate a ton of bad guys in the back of the store. Steve and Dustin are willing to let her do her thing, even when it seems a little crazy. Today, think about who you have met or could meet that could be important leverage for your business or your brand.

5. You’ll have to try several approaches to get your message across. Case in point: Joyce and Will. Will makes the phone do weird things, and the lamps, in persistent efforts to communicate with Joyce. In response, she tries a few combinations of lights until she gets the alphabet set up with the Christmas bulbs. And then everything changes. What you’ve always done to reach your audience may not be the frequency you need; they may be trying to tell you something new. It’s your job to figure out how they’re saying it. Maybe you’ve always relied on your blogs to connect, but your audience is really engaging with your new videos. Or maybe the social platform you are on isn’t where most of your demographic target audience is hanging out. Keep at it until you see the light (pun intended).

This month, our team at SJC Marketing invites you to have a little fun applying Stranger Things concepts to your brand and your messaging. Because there’s nothing strange at all about finding new customers that were there waiting, all this time, just hanging out in your paneled basement.