Learnings from Stranger Things

Stranger things blog

Learnings from Stranger Things

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Now, stick with us! The 4th season of Stranger Things is on the horizon and we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about it (from a business perspective of course!).

The premise of the show is about a group of kids living in a small fictional town (Hawkins, Indiana) who uncover a series of Government experiments, as well as a mysterious girl (Eleven) who has powers to access other alternative dimensions. Think Stand by Me mixed with E.T and the Goonies - basically a full blown 80s nostalgia fest. 

But you’re here to read about business, right? Stranger Things could help you understand the human qualities that can make a good business truly great. Think that sounds strange? Well, read on… 

Embrace your inner difference

We are introduced to a gang of kids (Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will) in season one and we learn pretty quickly that they aren’t exactly the ‘cool kids’. In fact they are very much outsiders who rather than playing sports spend most of their time in Mike’s basement playing Dungeons and Dragons. But Stranger Things embraces the outsiders and those who are a little bit eccentric. 

Lesson to be learned: Your business should embrace what makes it different from others. Celebrate being a bit quirky and fun, as this is what might connect you to a whole different audience, and you don’t need to hunt monsters in the process!

Identify your USP

The gang have to battle against seemingly insurmountable odds of the military, government scientists and a host of nightmarish creatures. But they have one thing that gives them an advantage: a young girl called Eleven who has incredible telepathic powers which makes her more than a match for any of their enemies. Even in the most dangerous situations, the kids can call upon her to save the day. 

Lesson to be learned: So what is your Eleven? Think about something you offer which you think you do better than others and makes you stand out. Perhaps a generous return policy; more interesting stock or maybe you just care more and offer friendlier customer service. Whatever it is that you have, don't be shy. Use it, embrace it and get your customers excited about it.

See things from a different perspective

In this show we are introduced to a strange alternative dimension called "the upside-down". We know very little about it except that it sits parallel with our world and can be entered through various portals around Hawkins. But even though the upside-down is mentioned frequently throughout the series we still know very little about it. In many ways it’s the great unknown. 

Lesson to be learned: As a business owner, it could be a good idea to get an outside perspective of what you’re doing. This might mean taking a product idea on social media and asking customers what they think of it. You may wish to use a survey tool and ask important questions about what you’re doing.

Yes, you may not always get the answers you want (which can sometimes feel a little scary), but you’ll learn a great deal and gain a different perspective. 

Learning and growth 

Whilst this show had many fantastical elements to it, the story revolves around pre-teens who grow up facing typical challenges in this ‘coming of age’ period. Dealing with insecurities, emotions and making mistakes is all part of growing up and all our young protagonists are on this journey. 

Lesson to be learned: The life of a business is quite similar. The start is all about figuring things out and that might mean making some mistakes along the way. It may also mean being adaptable to changing circumstances (such as a global pandemic).

But this is what makes being a business owner so rewarding and interesting. There is so much to learn and grow from and your experiences (good and bad) could help you, in the long run, become a better business owner. 

Connecting with your audience

The one thing Stranger Things has done so well is finding a way to connect with its audience. Set in the 80s but with a young cast, this show has somehow found a way to connect with a wide range of people both young and old. The references to well-known 80s cultural events are everywhere and have provided a great way for people to tap into their childhoods. 

Lesson to be learned: Think about how you can find a way to tap into the emotions of your audience and hook them in.

What type of language are you going to use in your communications? Will you be friendly, informal or authoritative? Perhaps you're going to go with a particular logo; again how will this look? Will you use a set of eye-catching colours on your website to grab your audience's attention? 

Want to read about things that aren’t so strange? Then why not check out some of our other blog posts.

David Goulden

David Goulden


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