With the final installment of The Hunger Games in theaters, viewers have seen the heroine Katniss Everdeen go from the Girl on Fire to the Mockingjay. Throughout it all, Katniss has had Cinna to transform her, even when Cinna could not actually be with her. In honor of the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, here are 3 visual branding lessons from The Hunger Games for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Photos for list items were taken Nov. 7, 2015 at the Hunger Games Exhibition in Times Square, New York City.
Focus on the person.
Cinna focused on Katniss as a person when he designed her Girl on Fire dress and brand. He took the elements of her background growing up in the coal-rich District 12 to create not just a costume but a story behind Katniss that viewers could rally around, one of grit, determination and fighting past her humble beginnings to meet the challenges of the arena.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs can focus on their own personal origin stories. How did the business get started? What inspired a product?
Continue the story.
As Katniss progressed, so did the story apparent in her visual branding. Cinna built each costume to layer on to the story of oppression and unjustness that existed within Panem. Each dress, each costume she wore in parades not only inspired the rebels but also cemented her as a figure rising out of the ashes of her upbringing.
For small business owners and entrepreneurs, that can include folding in customers’ stories with the business’s own. Visually, that can mean including your customers in campaigns, having them submit to social media or creating visual representations of how the company has helped customers succeed.
Don’t be afraid to evolve.
Cinna saw how Katniss would evolve into a symbol of the revolution. As such, he designed her Mockingjay armor to harden her into a symbol of power and resistance (while still being functional!). Yet the hard shell also protected the vulnerable girl at the center, the one who first started as the Girl on Fire facing off against all odds against Career tributes.
Things change in small business and for entrepreneurs. It’s important to evolve branding to meet those changes, whether it’s a modernized logo or new photography. Maybe it’s a new angle to the brand that has emerged over time. Whatever it is, evolving the story helps the brand grow.