When you create something and place it in the public domain, there is value in leaving enough space for people to project their own personalities onto it. Create a compelling message and wrap it in a evocative story. The critical part is to let the audience grab the concept or idea and make it their own, give them the tools to edit, copy and paste their own content into the work, this not only can increase your marketing reach with word of mouth and social sharing but also it starts to create unique stories and a shared culture that can live without the original creators input. The brand can become far more organic and find a more natural path to success.
A great example of the power of this is the film and franchise of Star Wars. It doesn’t take much to find Stars Wars on YouTube and see all the fan videos, remakes and outtakes that they have made. Search for Star Wars on Google and see all the fan sites and forums about the Star Wars universe. Think about how a whole generation bought into the story and still talk about it today. Consider the iconic characters and their cultural place as references in conversations. Did George Lucas plan all of this? Or did this occur through the adoption of the film by people that fell in love with the brand all the way from films and books to toys?
The genius of the Star Wars brand is how people adopted it and made it their own. There was enough space and depth to give people a platform to build from. They could relate and find meaning inside the story. There is a powerful brand lesson here about telling stories, allowing room for adaptation and most importantly allowing audience participation in the messaging. Don’t just build a brand with dogmatic imagery and messaging, keep some space between the lines for people to fall in love and become your biggest fans.