As you may have picked up from our Instagram, we’ve got a few Star Wars fans here at 3Points. So, unsurprisingly, we were swept up in The Mandalorian craze towards the end of 2019. For those of you who only know the Baby Yoda memes, The Mandalorian is a Space-Western series on Disney+ about a bounty hunter (the titular Mandalorian) navigating the Star Wars universe just after the events of the original trilogy. But can a gunslinging (ok, blaster-and-flamethrower-slinging) galactic bounty hunter actually teach us some lessons about PR? You better believe it!
Here are a few ways that the Mandalorian — and The Mandalorian — sets an example for good PR work. [This post will contain mild spoilers for Season One of the show.]
Look the part
Our guy Mando is a pretty skilled bounty hunter, but he is far from perfect. He makes plenty of mistakes, and at times you wonder how he commands so much respect from everyone who sees him. A lot of this is down to great branding. His armor not only looks cool, but it tells the world he is a Mandalorian, so he gets the benefit of being associated with the legendary reputation of the Mandalorian people, who are credited with great skill in combat.
It goes without saying that branding is crucial in PR. You could have a great new product, but if you don’t look the part in your physical and digital presence, people will be less likely to trust you. Invest in design to make sure your materials look good. Make sure your social profiles have a consistent look and feel. Spend that extra bit of effort to present your firm/product/self as professional, experienced, and skilled.
Provide something of value
Mando keeps getting work because he has a skill-set that people need. After the defeat of the Galactic Empire (spoiler for the original trilogy, but if you haven’t seen that, that’s really on you at this point), bounty hunting is a service that is in demand. You could also make the point that he draws plenty of attention (albeit unwanted) when he gains possession of the one thing everyone in the galaxy (theirs and ours) wants: Baby Yoda. Simply put, if you have or provide something that people want, they will take an interest in you.
Offering value is important in any industry, but it’s particularly important in PR, where the value is not always obvious, at least in a measurable way. Know your industry so you can know what is valuable in said industry. Keep up-to-date on the latest communication trends. And, as simple as it sounds, ask your clients or audience what is valuable to them, then work towards providing that.
This goes back to point #1, but despite his lone-wolf persona, Mando often needs a fair bit of help to survive dicey situations. He gets bailed out by his fellow Mandalorians, Baby Yoda, Kuill, Cara Dune, and even former enemies like IG-11 and Greef Karga. (As a side note, Disney, if you’re reading, please give us a supercut of all the times Carl Weathers says the word “Mando!”) Mando builds a network of allies over the course of the season, and these allies become vital in not only helping him achieve his goals, but keeping him alive.
PR is all about relationship-building. That is most obviously true in the media relations aspect of the business, but a strong network helps in a variety of ways. We’ve gotten numerous new business referrals from friends of the firm, we’ve worked with partner agencies and freelancers for services that we can’t provide ourselves, and we’ve even made introductions that have led to acquisitions for our clients. Get to know not only the audience you’re trying to reach, but others in your industry, your city, and your galaxy — you never know who might be your ally when you’re facing a battalion of stormtroopers, literally or figuratively.
Stick the landing
These next two points are more about the series as a whole than the Mandalorian himself. While the eight-episode Season One generally earned positive reviews overall, many thought it dragged a bit in the middle of the season, when it put the main plot to the side and took on a more “adventure of the week” format with perhaps unhealthy doses of fan service. It was able to overcome this dip, however, with a tremendous ending. Despite a strong opening, if the final few episodes had petered out and ended unsatisfactorily, it surely would have shaped fans’ perspectives and led to a negative overall perception of the first season. Instead, the ending tied together the season almost perfectly, and the result is a great deal of excitement for Season Two.
One of our values at 3Points is precision, and we pride ourselves on sticking the landing every time. Of course, you want to stick the beginning and middle too, but we all know that obstacles and setbacks are sometimes unavoidable. If you run into issues in the middle of a campaign, you can often still salvage the situation and achieve a positive result with hard work and ingenuity (and maybe, as stated above, some help from friends). By ending strongly, you can leave your audience with the lasting impression that you want.
This is also tied in with the previous point. One reason The Mandalorian left a positive impression is the (relatively) low expectations viewers came in with. As this was the first live-action Star Wars TV show, people didn’t really know what to expect. Compare that to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which many felt buckled under the weight of trying to wrap up not just the most recent trilogy, but the full trilogy of trilogies (we told you people love threes) that makes up the “Skywalker Saga.”
In PR, while it’s important to aim high (insert your own stormtrooper aim jokes here), it’s also important to manage expectations. Whether you’re talking to a client, a reporter, or end-user, making a promise you can’t keep is just about the worst thing you can do for your reputation. Instead, make sure your audience forms realistic expectations, then gain trust by not simply hitting those expectations, but exceeding them.
Do the right thing
Many times throughout Season One, our main Mando had the opportunity to do the easy thing, but whether it was the Mandalorian Way, the memories of his own childhood, or the unbearable cuteness of Baby Yoda, he chose a more difficult path in order to do what he thought was right. The same goes for his various allies, who help Mando and Baby Yoda despite knowing the risks of crossing (what remains of) the Empire.
PR is not just about trying to present the best version of yourself — it’s about trying to live up to that best version of yourself. The best PR is authentic, and it’s easy to be authentic when you know that you are doing things the right way. If you do the right thing, even if it makes things more difficult in the short run, you will earn a positive reputation in the long run. And at the end of the day, a positive reputation is what we all want to hang our hat — or helmet — on.