Disney’s new hit series “The Mandalorian” has garnered lots of attention. After all, the show features a Mandalorian “relative” of the immensely popular Boba Fett character that appeared in the original “Star Wars” trilogy — and, of course, the adorable Child (aka “Baby Yoda”).
Plot-wise, the show is pretty straightforward: A hardened bounty hunter (Din Djarin, aka “Mando”) in awesome-looking armor receives instructions to abduct an adorable little green guy and deliver him to a client. After completing his mission, the bounty hunter has second thoughts, returns to retrieve the cute baby, and decides to protect him at all costs.
But “The Mandalorian” goes deeper than that. The plot and character interactions can teach us many lessons about life, relationships, and even business. In fact, here are 10 marketing tips we can learn from “Star Wars: The Mandalorian.”
1. Establish strong brand recognition
Mandalorians are highly recognizable. They’ve been around since ancient times and, over the centuries, have cultivated a distinct look. Between their signature helmets and unique beskar armor, even those who have never encountered a Mandalorian know instantly when they see one. Talk about brand recognition! If you have a business, take a page out of their book: Be sure your logo and brand are unmistakable, visible, and memorable.
2. Develop a strong ethical platform
The Mandalorians have a mantra: “This Is the Way.” It describes their core beliefs, which must be followed by all members of their group. If you follow the show’s dialogue, it’s clear that any Mandalorian who dismisses this philosophy breaks a specific code.
Today’s younger generations, millennials and Gen Z, are steadily gaining buying power. They also care deeply about social and environmental issues. Corporate social responsibility matters to them, and they’re watching for companies that take a stance and set strong policies.
According to a study published last year in the Chicago Tribune, 87% of millennials and 94% of Gen Z’ers expect companies to make an effort to address social and environmental issues. Take a cue from the Mandalorians and establish a firm code of ethics for employees to follow. Then set CSR goals for your company — and its employees — to address.
3. Always be prepared
OK, this one’s a Boy Scout motto, but it applies to Star Wars lore, as well. Mandalorians always carry the tools and weapons they need to survive. Unfortunately, the majority of small businesses aren’t as well-prepared. A poll conducted by Nationwide Insurance in 2015 found 52% of small business owners said it would take at least three months to recover from a disaster, while a staggering 75% said they didn’t even have a disaster plan. Most companies don’t even require or offer safety or CPR training for employees to keep themselves and others safe in an emergency.
Businesses can learn a lot from the hyper-prepared Mandalorian way of life. You don’t need The Force to protect yourself, but you do need a plan to safeguard your business, your people, and the consumer data you collect. Companies that don’t enact a disaster plan have a higher probability of shutting their doors. And even if they do survive and recover lost assets, it can be hard to recover a solid brand reputation, equating to a marketing disaster.
4. Trust your instincts
Mandalorians, in general, have great instincts, but much of this comes through formal training within their community. On the other hand, Baby Yoda — who uses the Force repeatedly to save others — has no formal training. Yet it appears he doesn’t yet grasp the extent of his capabilities and where they fit in the galaxy. He just acts on instinct and uses his powers when the time comes.
In business, sometimes you just can’t predict what will happen and have to rely instead on instinct when it comes to making important decisions. If you don’t have reliable data or intel, go with your gut — it seldom steers you wrong. Your intuition can be a powerful tool: According to Forbes, roughly 40% of CEOs go on raw instinct when making decisions. And good decisions mean good market standing.
5. Develop relationships
By nature, Mandalorians keep to themselves. However, once Mando goes solo to save Baby Yoda from holdouts of the old Empire who want to exploit him, he realizes he can’t do everything on his own. As the story unfolds, he has to learn how to embrace others and develop relationships outside his clan if he’s going to protect the Child.
Mando allies himself with Cara Dune and Kuill, and he even re-forms an unlikely alliance with Bounty Hunter Guild boss Greef Carga, whom he angered when he stole Baby Yoda back from the client. Similarly, in business, you and your partners can help one another reach your respective goals by forming partnerships and alliances. Don’t underestimate the importance of relationships in business.
6. Remember that character matters
You don’t have to create a “This Is The Way” mantra, but you should establish yourself individually as having good character (after all, you’ll be the face of your business!) and employ solid ethics in how you conduct business. Operating an ethical company shows up in many ways: filling orders on time and paying off debts. Your word, your reputation means something, so be sure to maintain a reliable credit standing personally and in the business community. If you don’t, fewer vendors and suppliers will want to deal with you, and those that do will likely charge you more.
7. Seek help when you need it
Help can come from the people you least expect to offer it. As a loner, Mando prefers to solve problems on his own, but he does recognize the importance of accepting help when needed. For instance, it’s clear that he has a huge distrust of droids, especially a particular IG-11 unit who sought to terminate the Child early in the series.
His mistrust of IG-11 continues even though Kuill insists he reprogrammed the killer droid to serve as a protector and caretaker. Near the end of the season, when Mando is seriously injured in an attack, it seems he would even prefer to die rather than trust IG-11. However, he finally accepts help from the droid, who then saves his life.
If your business is struggling, don’t let your pride (or anything else) prevent you from seeking help. Many successful business owners are more than willing to lend a hand with advice, financing, or other means of assistance. Never be afraid to seek help when you need it. It might just save you.
8. Stay calm in a crisis
Mandalorians are calm by nature and take a straightforward approach to deal with crisis situations; however, a crisis can sometimes get the best of anyone. In one episode, the Jawas pilfer Mando’s ship and begin selling off pieces, eventually striking a deal that required him to steal a mudhorn’s egg for them before they’d return his ship parts. Mando is brought to death’s door during the subsequent mud horn battle, but Baby Yoda uses the Force to save him from the giant animal’s wrath.
As a business owner, you probably don’t have supernatural powers to draw upon in a crisis — but if you keep your head and use what you know when catastrophe hits, you’ll be better able to respond to the situation and resolve it.
9. Don’t be too dependent on tech
Mando has a cool array of weapons and devices to use against his opponents. However, he also uses his knowledge, instincts, and wits to prevail. Once, he stopped an opponent with a door. There’s a lesson in that: Technology can offer plenty of opportunities, but it can also lead to complacency. It should never replace basic skills, training, or the ability to think critically and improvise.
10. Don’t be averse to change
The Mandalorian was living a profitable life as a bounty hunter, but he saw the need to change when he realized the innocent Baby Yoda was in danger. As a foundling himself, he realized it wasn’t “The Way” to leave another foundling in danger. In response, he upended his life, changed his priorities, and did what he had to do to survive with his conscience intact.
Businesses unprepared for change will struggle over the long term. As a business owner or manager, you must be ready to respond to change. Marketing approaches, especially, can turn on a dime, requiring quick thinking and resilience. If you’re change-averse and slow to react, your competitors can leave you in the dust.
The Mandalorian tells a specific story, but if you look beneath its surface, you’ll find a lot more of life’s lessons between the lines. With the right mindset and judicious application, you can apply this wisdom to your business and marketing techniques, and come out on top.