Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the latest installment in the nearly 40-year old film series – opened this weekend to a massive $155 million box office domestically, and an even more impressive $290.5 million internationally. The film is the first in the series to exist outside of the main Skywalker storyline and serves as a prequel to the Star Wars franchise we all know and love.

Clearly, the force is definitely still with us – even after all these years. With our shortening attention spans and ever-present desire for the newest, coolest, shiniest thing, it’s kind of amazing that the Star Wars franchise has continued to dazzle us for four decades. It’s not just some nerdy nostalgic thing our dads continue to show up for – Star Wars has successfully attracted new audiences, has modernized along with its loyal fan base, and has expanded into all kinds of media platforms to cater to different forms of storytelling.  And above all else, the longevity of Star Wars proves the undeniable awesomeness of a great story.

There’s much we can learn, as PR professionals, from the success and staying power of Star Wars. Ultimately, it is a strong brand deeply rooted in simple, ageless, themes – good v evil, faith — that appeal to all of us on some level. Star Wars seems more “nerdy” than “sexy” at first (though this latest one is the darkest, sexiest yet); but serves as a nice reminder for us that classic storytelling devices are classic for a reason. We shouldn’t shy away from keeping brand strategy simple and consistent. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but we can update it and build upon it to make it relevant for right now.

As Darth Vader said, don’t underestimate the force.

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