What can you learn from Wandavision about branding, marketing and tapping into popular culture?
Disney + Marvel’s Wandavision is the flagship outing on the platform for the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and it successfully blends that universe with classic sitcoms, references and tropes from those era’s.
In this video, I go over how Wandavision successfully taps into popular culture to resonate with the audience, create familiarity and set up the show, how some other brands have used popular culture in their branding and what you can take away from it to use for your business.
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What can a series about superheroes sitcoms and dysfunctional families teach you about branding and tapping into popular culture. Keep watching to find out
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Wandavision is the flagship Marvel Disney plus series. On the streaming platform and it features two of the Avengers, Scarlet, Witch, and Vision. And here’s a quick synopsis from Disney that will explain the show’s premise, Marvel studios, Wandavision blends the style of classic sitcoms with the Marvel cinematic universe in which Wanda Maximoff played by Elizabeth Olsen and vision played by Paul Bettany. Two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
At the beginning of each episode of Wandavision there is a credit scene that taps into a classic sitcom or a few classic sitcoms as the intro to the episode. So the first couple of episodes are based in the sixties with Bewitched and I love Lucy.
And then we move on to the Brady bunch with the seventies and in the eighties we have family ties. And then in the, in the nineties, we have Malcolm in the middle. And then the noughties, we have the office and modern family, each episode progresses through the decades, paying meticulous attention to the details of those sitcoms calling upon them into the intros, but also of the eras in general.
So the whole episode, which is set in that particular decade calls upon that era and the tropes and the styles that come with that particular era.
So, what has this got to do with branding? Well, it’s in the merging of the classic sitcoms with the Marvel universe, that there is a lot going on that we can learn about branding.
For this TV series to work Disney and Marvel are relying on you to have either seen those sitcoms when they were first aired or through reruns, or you’re aware of them through popular culture, parodies, tropes, and common themes that are being drawn up in those episodes.
For example, if you’ve ever watched Friends, they mentioned a lot of classic sitcoms in that series. Now, whether that is through them watching a classic sitcom on TV during a scene, or they mentioned a character from a sitcom as in Lucy, from, I love Lucy when describing another character. And what they’re doing here is that pulling in some references from popular culture that the viewers will either recognize, be familiar with at a distance.
Or understand the references. You see this a lot in TV shows, you’ll see it in books, you see it in the media and you see it in standup comedians routines. And what this does is it immediately resonates with the audience and it also creates familiarity. Now the definition of popular culture is –
Popular culture is a set of practices, beliefs, and objects that embody the most broadly shared meanings of a social system. It includes media objects. Entertainment and leisure, fashion and trends and linguistic conventions among other things. And what this means for branding is when designing or developing your brand, you have a wealth of popular culture at your fingertips.
Now, whether that is through visuals, whether that’s conceptual ideas, whether that is through language or mixed media. You can tap into these and share these as part of your brand’s development, drawing on inspiration, if it’s right for your brand and pulling that in. And sometimes if you mix those together, what happens is as you create an interesting mix of popular culture that your audience can immediately tap into and it resonates with them.
Comment below with a yes. If you enjoyed Wandavision and what were some of the most striking references that you noticed from popular culture?
So how can you use this with your brand? The face of popular culture is changing all the time with new additions being added all the time. So from phrases like ‘Winter is coming’ to businesses using the subscription model to Fortnite dance moves like flossing being used by football stars. When they score a goal in a world cup, these are just some examples of how widespread popular culture can be in the conscious of the global population and how you can tap into these in a big way.
So what are some things that you can do to tap into this? So find a trend and ride the wave. So Marty Neumeier talks about in his book, zag all about finding a parade and getting in front of it. When launching a brand, but it must be something that relates to your brand and you’re passionate about otherwise this won’t work, but if you can find a trend and ride that wave.
That you’re passionate about something that you believe in that can really launch your brand, but you’re tapping into popular culture. So it could be something along the lines of an ecological based trend or something that’s really coming to fruition, or it could be just disrupting a stale out of date industry that needs a shakeup.
Now these trends are the new wave of popular culture. So what they are is they’re at the forefront of popular culture. They haven’t embedded into. The, the conscious of the population yet. So you’re really right at the forefront, which is great because you’re getting in early to that particular trend that could in years to come be embedded into that popular culture with your brand tied to it, you can do what Wandavision has done and tap into the existing, popular culture that the stuff that’s already there and whether that’s visual ideas, whether that’s media, whether that is language around a certain phrases that on with winter is coming.
If you can tap into some popular culture ideas in your brand and mixing them together, only as inspiration, you don’t want to copy directly from them, but just as inspiration, you can really get some good examples and blends together that can really accelerate your brand. You want to do this subtly, you don’t want to copy something directly.
It wants to be drawn as inspiration, but what it does, it creates a feeling of familiarity, a feeling of. Resonance with your audience, because it’s something that’s already embedded in that popular culture. You can go back even further. So you can look at things like folklore mythology, classic literature, and stories, and draw inspiration from them into your brand’s development and brand story.
This works really well if your product or service is based on a location. So whether it is set in a particular region or particular country and you service that region or country primarily. Then this can be really good tapping into that folklore, that local legend mythology, anything like that, that you can draw upon that has already embedded itself in the culture and the history of your audience and the popular culture that surrounds you and above all, make sure that anything that you do just make sense with your brand.
Now, you’ve got an idea of how you can tap into popular culture for your brand. If you’re looking to develop your brand further, maybe you have an existing brand and it’s not quite where you want it to be. It’s a bit confused or you’re about to launch a brand. We actually have an online course that is for business owners who are looking to do just that or founders that are looking to do just that.
And what it’ll do is it’ll take you through the whole process of developing your internal brand and your external brand. And help you through the whole process. So if you’re interested in that, and there’s a link in the description below, if you’ve enjoyed this episode and you’d like to see more. Videos come out weekly and they’re designed to help you unlock your brand’s potential.