7 Things Digital Marketers Can Learn from Spirited Away


7 Things Digital Marketers Can Learn from Spirited Away    

Spirited Away is a 2001 anime movie that was conceived, written and directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. To say that the film was a success would be an understatement. Spirited Away won several awards and recognitions worldwide such as the Golden Bear in the 2002 Berlin film festival as well as being in the British Film Institute’s ‘top fifty films for children up to the age of 14.’

With only a budget of $19 million, the film grossed north of $289 million and replaced Titanic as the highest grossing motion picture in Japan. With such success, the movie is full of handy takeaways and lessons that can benefit the open-minded and ever ready-to-learn marketer. Below are 7 of them.

How to build on a good foundation

Before Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli gave anime fans worldwide Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro among other films that were very well received. As far as animated movies are concerned, the studio was, and remains one of the dominant names both among fans and professionals in the anime sector.

In this light, Spirited Away had a solid base on which to thrive, and thrive it did. Studio Ghibli, therefore, delivers the crisp picture that maintaining a success streak is easier when effort has already gone into developing a great name.

Experience is essential

Spirited Away propelled Hayao Miyazaki further into the limelight regarding developing and directing amazing animated motion pictures. This particular win was all the more important since it gave him more credibility regarding consistency. It proved beyond reasonable doubt that his touch of gold was no fluke and that he was like wine, only getting better with time.

This quantifies the obvious fact that in all undertakings, marketing included, experience is a gem. It, however, does not necessarily mean that experience is must to achieve success. After all, Hayao’s very first movie was a big success.

The importance of having a competent team

As one progresses through the marketing ranks, building a team will eventually become inevitable to scale up. With a team in place, the probability of failing will increase (if the team is mediocre) or significantly increase (if the team is well constituted).

The success of Spirited Away showcases the success a prudently banded team can actuate. Moreover, it highlights the importance of upholding the team’s purpose over the needs of an individual regardless of power wielded. Many are surprised to learn that before Spirited Away’s script was accepted, Hayao had two proposals rejected.

The appeal of fantasy

Fantasy products, especially those that avail a momentary escape route from the vagaries of life tend to sell very well. In Spirited Away, the fantasy aspect is core. The film manages to immerse viewers in the gripping fantasy world of a ten-year-old looking to save her family from a wicked witch. It follows that such immersion in fantasy creations can be replicated with similar results. It is a strategy many companies take advantage of to drive sales, and equally, any marketer can do the same to drive product more effectively.

Having signature traits is wise

Studio Ghibli films have particular signature elements that betray their origin. The quality, depth of the narrative, character development and the uncompromising aesthetic appeal make it easy to categorize an animated film as a Studio Ghibli production for one familiar with the studio’s works.

It is an approach replicated in cultured firms all over the world as a crucial brand identifier. Marketers who start out with determination and commitment to uphold certain traits of their value propositions may it be offering the utmost quality, having a personal touch, or being strongly customer oriented align themselves better for long term success.

Go after quality; the awards will come

Marketers are sometimes guilty of going after awards or angling for inclusion in certain prominent and respected lists and in the process, they lose sight of what is really important: quality. Spirited Away enjoyed various accolades, but it is only because Studio Ghibli focused on predetermined quality ideals and pushed everything else to the side.

Thus, continually maintaining a fixated gaze on offering the best and improving one’s offering is the best and most sure way to earn recognition for a job well done: a truth that marketers should internalize.

Listen to your customers

One of Studio Ghibli’s additional signature attributes is the studio’s commitment to pleasing fans by listening to them and addressing their issues. It is by gauging audience reception as well as engagement that the studio has been able to take monumental steps in organizing successful festivals, and building thriving theme parks, etc.

In light of this, one of the best things a marketer can do to improve brand image and easily boost popularity while gaining useful insight is by listening to his/her client base.

Final thoughts

Even if the marketing educational value Spirited Away actualizes was nullified, the film would remain a must watch regardless of the movie genre one gravitates towards. The fact that it was ranked as runners up in New York Time’s ‘best films of the 21st century so far’ puts the matter beyond discussion.

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