Let me say up front that I am the first to admit that I am a Harry Potter (HP) fan. The books captured my attention a little later than the hordes of 10yr olds who were glued to the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione from book one. I remember seeing the queues of people of all ages lined up at bookstores prior to the release of the fourth book in 2000 and decided to see what the fuss was all about. I was hooked. In 2009 I shrieked with delight on the news of a HP theme park opening as part of Universal Studios Orlando and immediately put it on my bucket list.
Four years later I finally got there! The first thing that struck me was the power of the brand. There is a certain magic (pardon the pun) behind the marketing of Harry Potter and I have narrowed it down to five simple rules.
1. Pottermore site sets the bar high for interactive children’s websites
First of all there is the security. As this site is mainly targeting children, usernames are generic and automatically generated so no user can be identified by their real name.
Rediscovering the books. JK Rowling has ensure that the user journeys through the site as if they are with the main characters experiencing what they experience.
Extra notes by JK Rowling add a freshness to the experience as you read the authors comments and thoughts behind certain scenes in the books.
Finding hidden items – as you move through each chapter through the site, you can collect secret or missing items and put them in your ‘trunk’ which you can use later to put together potions or battle other online users in a duel.
2. Brand consistency
The merchandise, movies and all related props closely adhere to the original plot. Even in the theme park, staff are all in character, most with English accents and you are not able to buy soft drink as that is not part of the HP world.
3. Emotional involvement
Fans of the books are totally immersed in the characters world, conventions are held annually, fan fiction rivals that of Star Wars and Star Trek both long-established brands, and there is even a range of Wizard Rock Groups.
4. Bringing the brand to life as a theme park
The HP universe that JK Rowling built incorporates clothing such as robes, scarves, t-shirts and general wizarding garb along with an array of items from the books and movies such as wands, lollies, chocolate and the usual merchandising options.
- Harry Potter Gets His Own Convention! Celebration Coming To Orlando Next Year! (perezhilton.com)
- Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived, Lives On. (dnaindia.com)
- The Whole Harry Potter – Twilight Thing (clareviewblog.wordpress.com)