The Boy Who Was Sold Out

The Methods of Turning Product into Brand

The were times when a nerdy-looking boy with a scar, was watching us from book shop windows and movie posters just like Big Brother. Under the name of Potter, everything could be released: from pajamas, sweets and school notebooks to “adult” products. This time has passed. The death of a commercial project was predetermined by a limited number of released books. But unlike the brothers in bookshelves, Potter lived a vibrant life and stored in people's minds for a long time.

Round glasses, closed English schools, magic - all this is associated with Potter so far. And this is not the merit of the author. We should say thanks to marketers. They masterly sold the goods with the help of simple tools.

This article is useful to anyone who wants to know how to build a brand and earn more on it.

Tell a Fairytale

Another trick of brand management: surround your product with Stories - they are sold readily.

In 2009, journalist Rob Walker and writer Joshua Glenn identified how the text affects sales. In the second-hand store, they bought 100 useless items for $129. Things were handed out to hundreds of writers. They were asked to invent stories about them.

Experimenters put products with annotations on eBay. Buyers were honestly warned that stories are fictional. The total income from the sale of frippery was $ 3600. The texts increased the value of stuff 28 times.

Even before the release of the first Harry Potter film, the character and everything connected with it was overgrown with stories. The media published articles about JK Rowling, the modern Cinderella, who wrote the first book in an unheated apartment, and once woke up rich and famous after the publication. They told stories about the independent publishing house Bloomsbury, which became famous in 1995 because of the publication of the children's book.

The stories around the book have heightened interest in the product. In marketing, this technique is called Storytelling. Tell people about the product and everything that is connected with it.

Storytelling is a useful tool for product promotion. It is also a useful brand strategy to motivate employees inside the company.

The story may be fictional or real. It does not matter, the main thing is that the story worms its way into the clients’ hearts.

Show pics

As you know, visual information is perceived and remembered much faster. If you want to make your product recognizable visualize it!

Stephen King wrote in his autobiography that if you ask people to imagine a white rabbit, everyone would imagine it in his/her own manner. The Harry Potter story could become a bestseller for one season if not the movie. It is the movie that gifted the miracle of visualization and new advertising wave to a magic world.

Before filming the Harry Potter films, each of the fans of the books imagined magic as they wished or could. But the Warner Brothers film studio showed thousands of viewers their vision of Hogwarts, an illustration of real magic and recognizable faces of the characters. The movies made the product clearer, more affordable and attracted thousands of new customers.

It is not necessary to shoot a full-length movie. The short video is OK as well.

In 2008, Dropbox fought for new users. For promotion, they used Google Edwards. For every $ 380 spent, only one subscriber paid $ 99. Then the founder Drew Houston and his team made a video explainer on how the cloud storage service works. The day after the video was posted, 70,000 people registered with Dropbox.

Visualization is the strongest product promotion tool. Videos, graphics, photos “upload” a product image into a buyer’s brain.

Carry on an intrigue!

The main peculiarity of human’s nature is curiosity. If you demonstratively hide something from the buyer, he will want to know it. Buyers love trying to solve the mystery. They are drawn into the game and already at this stage consider their product.

The first commotion in the press around Harry Potter began when the watches counting down the days before the third book sales start in the windows of bookstores.

The degree of mystery was increasing from series to series. Rowling refused to give an interview, and in a casual conversation hinted at the death of the character. New chapters were driven to the illustrators under guard, the actors were signing non-disclosure contracts. Every time, a few days before books were published, something was constantly happening.

Limit the supply

If the quantity of favorite goods is limited, the buyer will buy it immediately. Even if the goods are not needed now. There are two reasons for this behavior. The first is fear. The buyer is afraid that the goods will be run out and he/she will not have any chance to buy it. Fear increases demand.

Harry Potter was everywhere. Books were sold at gas stations, newsstands, pastry shops, and amusement parks. But at the same time, it became unavailable.

The first time it happened by chance: the publishers did not calculate the number of orders and there were not enough books. Later, the feeling of lack of books was artificially heightened. The result was huge queues, insane sales per minute, and a new wave of interest.

The second reason is the desire to be unique. The exclusive product makes the buyer different from the others.

Limitation makes the product individual - it is not mass production, but a product made personally for the buyer. The client feels the chosen one.


Buyers tend to stay with those whom they trust. They need guarantees that the chosen product, if changes, then only for the better.

For the army of Potter fans, JK Rowling herself became the guarantor of the reliability of the created world. At all stages of working with the brand, she watched his reputation.

The unknown (before) writer refused to Steven Spielberg so that he did not turn the adaptation of her saga into an American blockbuster. Rowling insisted on only English actors for the Potter film. The writer has forbidden to print the image of the wizard on the boxes with Happy Mil, although the McDonald's offered six-figure sums.

Joan could at any time come to the filming and cancel any action of make-up artists, decorators, and designers. Fans around the world knew this. Fans believed Joan would protect their favorite brand.

Listen to the clients

Customer feedback is an important process in turning a product into a brand. Customers love attention, and working with them increases brand loyalty.

The first time Rowling and Warner Brothers fought with fans. They sued the 15-year-old schoolgirl Claire Fit. The girl illegally created a fan site for Potter. The news of the litigation made the fans furious, and they declared a boycott of the writer and the film studio.

It became clear that you need to listen to the customers. The copyright holders created the official Hogwarts website as opposed to their “homemade magic schools”. Registration on the site is free, you do not need to buy anything, customers receive only bonuses: games and unpublished parts of the novel. For such a warm attitude, users return the love.

The willingness to listen to the opinion of buyers turns the manufacturer from an insidious capitalist into a caring friend. The audience is taking warm feelings for the creators and automatically buys more.

Talk big about achievements

Parents have always taught us that bragging is bad. But this rule does not work in a competitive market. People often rely on public opinion and follow the majority.

The first thing to brag about is high sales. They confirm the quality of the goods. Sales of the Potter novels were made according to the perpetual motion rule: each company hopped up the next one.

When the American publishing house Skulalastik bought the rights to a magical world for a six-figure amount, schoolchildren in the US ran to the stores to buy it. The story about the English boy has become the bestseller in France as well. The creators did not hide the news, but, on the contrary, happily shared with the press.

The second thing worth sharing is a successful invention. If you have created a unique product, do not wait until it is evaluated by experts. Share the joy with buyers.

What do we learn from Potter?
The Harry Potter novel is a literary product that JK Rowling brought to the publishing house for sale. With the help of marketing moves, the marvelous story about the wizard has become a brand that has gone far beyond the book business.

The success story of a magician boy contains a brand guide that is applicable to any site and to any product. I call for you to learn from it. Here are a few rules that will help you:

A good story will sell even a bad product. Tell stories about different things. Even fictional texts will increase the value of the product several times.

The picture is sticking to one’s memory better. Shoot a video about the product, supply the presentation with infographics. Customers will remember the product and more easily will appreciate all the benefits.

Quality assurance increases loyalty. Test the product and tell the customer about it. Communicate with customers, answer questions, help solve problems. Do not be afraid to return the money if the goods did not suit the buyer. Just ask what exactly he or she do not like. Such behavior shows your reliability.

Mystery draws attention. When preparing a new product or offer, share only a part of the information, make the buyers interested.

The limited product makes it desirable. Heat up the demand with unique offers, let the buyer feel the exclusivity of the product.

Customer care provokes dedication. Work with customers. You will receive feedback on the product and can improve it.

Success increases sales. Tell about your achievements. You will improve your reputation and increase your commercial victories.

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