Resonance Highlights Marketing Lessons from Doctor Who

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Rachel Parker tackles the question of what makes Doctor Who so perennially buzzworthy and what marketers can learn from one of television's most successful franchises.

Peter Capaldi Will Be the Next Doctor Who

Peter Capaldi, the next Doctor Who (Photo courtesy of BBC)

Doctor Who is much more than a TV show: it's a global brand that generates the kind of buzz most marketers would kill for.

“And I thought the royal baby was a big deal,” chuckles Rachel Parker, Owner and President of Resonance Content Marketing, “but then came the announcement of a new Doctor Who, and Facebook could barely contain the buzz.”

On August 4, the BBC announced that Scottish-born actor Peter Capaldi would take the helm of one of television’s oldest franchises as the twelfth actor to play Doctor Who. Immediately following the announcement, millions of fans around the world took to social media to proclaim the news.

“Doctor Who is much more than a television show,” explains Parker. “It’s a global brand that generates the kind of buzz most marketers would kill for. Since the show's origins in 1963, its producers have made a series of genius moves that not only keep fans coming back, but keep them talking about it.”

In a blog post titled “The Marketing Genius That Is Doctor Who,” Parker cites three key reasons for the show’s perennial buzzworthiness.

“First, the producers not only know and understand the show’s fans — they respect them,” she explains. “The ‘Whovians,’ as The Doctor’s fans have come to be known, aren’t just consumers of the show. They’re a part of it, and it’s a part of them. And the producers return the favor by giving those fans a seat at the table.”

Second on the list is the show’s built-in ability to accommodate change in the leading role. “The producers and writers have not only embraced change,” Parker notes, “they’ve turned it into a feature by making ‘regenerating’ part of the mythology.” In the context of the show, The Doctor periodically morphs into a new body, allowing for changes in the lead actor spot as often as needed without disrupting the main story arc.

“Finally,” Parker concludes, “the show has created its own compelling mythology, a common set of words, stories and symbols that fans can rally around. There are more than 400 Wikipedia pages with ‘Doctor Who’ in the title, covering everything from specific characters to a list of vehicles used on the show.”

Parker notes that marketers can learn quite a bit from the phenomenon that is Doctor Who. “The show is a textbook example of making customers — current and prospective — a number one priority and giving them a voice,” she says. “We also need to remain open to change and start building a common culture among our fans and followers with words, symbols and stories.”

About Resonance
Founded in 2010, Houston-based Resonance Content Marketing helps companies attract and retain business through engaging content delivered through social media, e-newsletters, blogs, and other venues. Resonance enhances its clients' marketing strategies by developing comprehensive content marketing plans, writing and publishing content on their behalf, and measuring the results to ensure consistent progress.

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