Business PR Strategy

What are you really teaching us Mr Grey?

Posted by Deborah | June 18th, 2015 | No responses

FiftyShadesbyDavid Castillo Dominici

If you’ve been up reading since Midnight, or have found yourself blushing on your commute into work this morning as you scroll the latest download on your Kindle – perhaps Mr Grey has been to blame.

The early hours of today saw the release of the fourth book by E L James, with commentators suggesting it was topping the E-Reader list before it had even gone on sale in the high street.

Critics have certainly had their say ever since the story of Christian Grey began to emerge on the literary scene, but regardless of whether you question the writing excellence of E L James, you can’t deny the ‘brand’ has been a marketing triumph.

Here’s a few ways in which the steamy series tells us something about how to approach marketing and PR our own products and services….


It doesn’t have to be new:

There really isn’t anything all that new about the story of Christian and Ana. Okay, maybe it’s quite a racy relationship saga, but it takes elements from all kinds of popular culture stories before it.

What E L James did successfully was to find an edge, a different stance, a different reason to appeal.


Social social social:

Undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons for the series’ initial success was the way it used social media to gain momentum and spread the word. This has been true as the saga has continued.

Without social, there’s no question it would have taken considerably longer for the stories to have anything like the impact they have or to attract such phenomenal fanbase.

Make sure your strategy features social and work out how it will target your audience.


Can you expand your initial proposition?:

E L James was poised ready to create her book into a film and to attract the kind of merchandising deals which would neatly follow on from the original story concept.

Good marketing strategies aren’t just about selling the current idea or product, but about seeing how it can expand or evolve.



Stakeholder strategy:

Marketing success often relies upon relationships beyond which you have at the outset of your initiative.

E L James made sure she had a network with which she could work to collaborate and create appropriate brand association.

Consider what current or potential stakeholders you could work with on your marketing ideas which would gain you more traction and visibility.



Timing is everything:

The release of the film was deliberately delayed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, and proved a spectacularly successful decision.

Always think about the best time to carry out your marketing activity, whether it falls in line with holidays / a weather period / significant business issues for your business or sector.


Perfection isn’t the priority:

As it’s been said before, E L James is not ever going to be considered the best ‘writer of our time’. However, that hasn’t stopped the brand being a phenomenon. Yes, be good at what you do and make sure your product is right, but remember not to get paralysed by the pursuit of perfection.



For more help with PR and marketing, please email me 

Pic by David Castillo Dominici

Pic by David Castillo Dominici

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