What If the ‘Game of Thrones’ Houses Were Brands?

What If the ‘Game of Thrones’ Houses Were Brands?

There is no middle ground.” That’s Cersei Lannister speaking to Ned Stark in Season 1 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Many have learned by watching seven seasons of Game of Thrones that building trust and loyalty is everything. At the end of the show, the house to win the game of thrones will likely be the one that demonstrates the best branding… and also sword-fighting. House Baratheon: Nordstrom House motto: “Ours is the fury” House sigil: A black stag on a golden banner Personality traits: Militaristic hunters, men’s men Remaining heirs: Gendry Waters Most likely to sell you: Whiskey, beef jerky The memory of the once-great House of Baratheon was sullied slightly by the last member of the house to sit on the Iron Throne. We’re all angry in Westeros. House Greyjoy: Uber House motto: “We do not sow” Personality traits: Ruthless, independent, resilient Remaining heirs: Yara Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy, Euron Greyjoy Most likely to sell you: B2B leadership training seminars, saltwater protection spray for your boat Ah, a classic brand split between objectives. '” Remaining heirs: Daenerys Targaryen and her nephew/boyfriend Aegon Targaryen, aka Jon Snow Most likely to sell you: Opal or moonstone jewelry, graphic design software Targaryen brand awareness was once so widespread that people still talk about the house, decades after the last living Targaryen was in Westeros. House Lannister: Tesla House motto: “Hear me roar!” and “A Lannister always pays his debts” Personality traits: Proud, Machiavellian, cut-throat intellectuals Remaining heirs: Cersei Lannister, Jamie Lannister, Tyrion Lannister Most likely to sell you: Luxury clothing, stock in their company Their leader has appeared in the news, positively and negatively, every week for years. House Stark: Patagonia House motto: “Winter is coming” Personality traits: Grim, pessimistic, hard-working Remaining heirs: Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Aegon Targaryen, aka Jon Snow, and arguably Theon Greyjoy Most likely to sell you: A sensible winter coat As far as branded messaging goes, the Starks are ideal. You could ask almost anyone on Westeros to describe the Stark brand, and they’ll likely be able to name a few characteristics, even if they’re not loyal to the brand itself.

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“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” That’s Cersei Lannister speaking to Ned Stark in Season 1 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. She’s not exaggerating, by the way. Ned dies soon after he hears this, effectively losing the game.

What exactly is the game of thrones? Well, it’s just a fanciful way of describing the struggle for political power over the show’s fictional landmass, Westeros. The person who ends up ruling the whole area literally sits on a throne made of iron swords, aka the Iron Throne.

For our purposes, the “game of thrones” is also a pretty good analogy for content marketing. As we know, if a team creates content, they either need to be the best at engaging their target audience, or they’re eventually going to watch their company fall apart. Many have learned by watching seven seasons of Game of Thrones that building trust and loyalty is everything. I mean, look what happened to Littlefinger.

That’s why we’re comparing each of the great (surviving) houses in Westeros to existing brands. If you’re willing to suspend some disbelief, come with us as we assess all the Westerosi families still standing for the final season. The comparison works out pretty well—every house in Westeros has a logo, signature personality, and content by way of a motto. At the end of the show, the house to win the game of thrones will likely be the one that demonstrates the best branding… and also sword-fighting.

House Baratheon: Nordstrom

House motto: “Ours is the fury”

House sigil: A black stag on a golden banner

Personality traits: Militaristic hunters, men’s men

Remaining heirs: Gendry Waters

Most likely to sell you: Whiskey, beef jerky

The House Baratheon sigil, Wikimedia commons

The memory of the once-great House of Baratheon was sullied slightly by the last member of the house to sit on the Iron Throne. Robert was a drunkard, but considering his wife Cersei was cheating on him with her brother Jamie, it’s hard to blame him. After Robert died, his younger brothers Renly and Stannis fought for power, but neither survived. Unbeknownst to most characters on Game of Thrones, Robert’s son Gendry has realized that the throne is sort of his birthright, so let’s start there.

As far as brands go, the Baratheons are like Nordstrom. A lot of people have fond memories of admiring their work, but their voice now feels a bit out of touch. “Ours is the fury?” Seriously? We’re all angry in Westeros. You don’t have to be angry for us.

Enter Gendry, the Westerosi equivalent of Nordstrom Rack. He has the brand’s core DNA and his father’s strong jaw, but he also recognizes that his family’s way of life is becoming obsolete. Better to remerge with new concepts (savings on designer clothing, supporting the King in the North) and hopefully attract a young audience (millennials, Arya).

House Greyjoy: Uber

House motto: “We do not sow”

Personality traits: Ruthless, independent, resilient

Remaining heirs: Yara Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy, Euron Greyjoy

Most likely to sell you: B2B leadership training seminars, saltwater protection spray for your boat

greyjoy house sigil

Ah, a classic brand split between objectives. Right now, chaotic evil Euron leads most of the Greyjoy navy, and he’s holding his niece Yara prisoner. In the eleventh hour,…

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