What PR Pros Can Learn from Game of Thrones

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the smash-hit television series Game of Thrones will be returning this weekend. From the red carpet appearances and star Kit Harrington hosting Saturday Night Live to the cryptic trailers and devoted podcasts, it’s hard to consume any form of media without one of Daenerys’ dragons hitting you in the face. HBO’s blockbuster simply is everywhere.

Originally seen as a show so “out there” that even The New York Times lambasted the premiere in a now infamous review, Game of Thrones has made the absolute most of George R.R. Martin’s sprawling fantasy epic – creating one of the last monocultural television moments. By subverting fantasy tropes and creating a rich rolodex of complex characters, Game of Thrones is the only show in today’s era of streaming and binge-watching that gathers the world around their TVs to watch on Sunday nights.

And this Sunday, it’s the beginning of the end, with 63 hours of programming coming to a head in the six-episode final season. Here at Version 2.0, we’ve been preparing with our own series re-watches and thought to ourselves – what if the characters vying for the throne in Westeros had the help of PR professionals?

Ridiculous? Maybe. But in a world with dragons, ice zombies, time-traveling visionaries and multiple resurrected characters, are you really going to draw the line at public relations?

So, whether you just began watching to see what all the hype is about, or you’re a seasoned fan who is at the point of speaking fluent Dothraki, we hope you’ll see the parallels we do.

Daenerys Targaryen
As season seven wrapped up, everyone’s favorite mother of dragons has plenty of counselors giving her advice, including her Hand of the Queen, Tyrion Lannister. With dragons, a Dothraki army and a new friend in Jon Snow, it seems like everything is going right for Daenerys – but here at V2, we believe there’s always room for improvement.

Labeled a “foreign invader” by Cersei Lannister, many Westerosi citizens don’t know why Daenerys is back in her ancestral home or how she plans to break the wheel. In other words, Daenerys’ core audience doesn’t understand who she is or what value she offers them. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for our content team to amplify her message and let folks know about the work she’s done freeing the slaves in Mereen. Perhaps a case study would best illustrate her past conquests and why the kingdom of Westeros would be in safe hands.

Jon Snow
Jon Snow is your stereotypical fantasy hero, singularly focused on his goal – defeating the army of the dead (it’s the only thing the guy talks about for four straight seasons). As an inspiring leader with a host of accomplishments under his belt, Jon is too focused on the task at hand and protecting the realm to toot his own horn of winter.

That’s where V2 could help. A media amplification program generating awareness for Jon’s moral compass and track record for saving the day would be the perfect strategy for The King in the North. Plus, as the soon-to-be-revealed true heir to the Iron Throne, he’s going to have some tricky waters to navigate with his lover – and aunt(!) – Daenerys. Whether he wants to be or not, Jon has a strong case to be the King, and V2 could help him in a quest to do so – once he defeats the White Walkers, of course.

Tyrion Lannister
As a client, Tyrion would certainly keep things interesting. A fan of women and wine, his sharp wit and cunning political savvy have made him a favorite among GOT fans. Tyrion has a clear understanding of how to operate in the game of thrones and knows the importance of personal connections, which would make him a great client to work with. He would go the extra mile to establish rapport with an interested reporter and cultivate a relationship for future media opportunities.

An effective PR strategy should then supplement what Tyrion already does so well. Version 2.0’s social media pros would love to leverage his larger-than-life personality to drive a creative and actionable social media presence. Whether it’s publishing long-form LinkedIn posts rife with metaphors, live-tweeting his quippy one-liners or hosting an Instagram live Q&A where he answers questions from followers while sipping on a glass of Dorne’s finest red, the possibilities are endless.

Cersei Lannister
Last but certainly not least, Cersei currently sits on The Iron Throne as the queen of The Seven Kingdoms. While there isn’t an argument to be made for Cersei being a moral or good person like Jon Snow, she is in charge – for now. When the series opens Sunday night, Cersei will have lost all three of her children, alienated the only person who has ever cared about her (her brother Jamie) and caused irreparable harm to almost every major character.

Daenerys, Jon, Tyrion and Sansa all have ample cause for taking revenge and whether foretold by prophecy or not, it’s likely that in the final season Cersei will meet her end. To quote Cersei herself, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

Crisis communications plan, anyone?

Comment below with who you think will take the throne!


April 12, 2019


By Liam Sullivan


Professional Development