Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from the Characters of “The Office” | Social Joey

For so many people, The Office has transcended from being another TV sitcom to being a beloved part of our regular streaming lineup—and when we say, “so many,” we really, really mean it. Collectively, Americans streamed over 57 billion minutes of The Office on Netflix in 2020, and while the show has since moved to Peacock, its status as a fan favorite remains.

The characters of The Office work at a local branch of a paper company where marketing is very rarely mentioned—but while Dunder Mifflin may not have a big focus on spreading the word about their product, as marketers, there is a lot we can learn from their workplace dichotomy.

The Overlap Between The Office and Marketing Lessons

While sometimes a TV show may be just a TV show, as content marketers, we are always looking for ways to glean inspiration from everything we experience—so yes, even sometimes our TV time can get our gears turning! Plus, The Office has a central workplace theme anyway, so you can’t blame us for relating it to our own jobs.

One of the reasons why it is so easy to take marketing lessons from The Office is because each of the show’s characters has a pretty strong personality. From goofy Andy to serious Angela and grumpy Stanley, examining how these characters interact within the office and in their notorious one-on-one interviews can teach us quite a bit about the values we can carry with us for all of our marketing efforts.

Read on, and be sure to let us know what you think and who your favorite character is!

Michael Scott: Always Be Genuine

The times that Michael Scott has made us cringe in The Office is probably far too much to count. In fact, without knowing Michael, a lot of his antics would seem like downright morale killers on paper (no pun intended)—but somehow, he always manages to pull it off.

The reason why Michael can still endear his coworkers despite some short-sighted mistakes has everything to do with his genuine nature.

While Michael may do some things that are embarrassing, frustrating or entirely silly to his staff, his redeeming quality is that his actions always come from a good place. At the end of the day, it is evident that Michael is simply trying to be the best boss he can be in the best way he knows how—and while his actions do not always seem to reflect that, it is clear that his intentions are good.

As marketers, we can take this as a valuable lesson. Not every decision we make will be the right one, and not every marketing effort will be a roaring success.

However, if our decisions come from a good place and we are genuine about how much we care, it will be evident to every customer that receives our communications.

Pam Beesly: Silly and Serious Can Mix

Both as a receptionist and a salesperson, Pam Beesly is a responsible and detail-oriented individual who keeps everything on track in spite of Michael’s best efforts to derail productivity around the office—but she also knows a little bit of fun is a must!

From distracting Michael by having him compare identical images for an afternoon to her participation in Jim’s pranks on Dwight, Pam is not afraid of being a little silly, but also knows it is important to be serious when it counts.

In our marketing messages, we can carry this attitude along with us. While there will be times when there is serious and important information to convey, we can also showcase our personality when the moment calls for it. This is a key part of connecting with customers, as it is no fun to be all business all the time.

Ryan Howard: Don’t Be Afraid of Innovation

There is a lot that could be said about Ryan Howard, but one thing is certainly true: He is not someone who is afraid to try something new. While an interconnected system like Wuphf (his communication tool that sends a Facebook message, IM, text, Tweet and print job simultaneously) sounds like a marketer’s nightmare, it can’t be denied that he had courage in moving forward with the idea.

Additionally, in later seasons, we see him “innovate” his way into a corporate position out of the New York office, despite having debatable qualifications—but you can’t deny his confidence!

While Ryan’s ideas certainly are not always the best, his penchant for innovation is inspiring. He is not afraid to try new ideas and create new things, even if they are not ultimately successful. While marketers should always do their best to think through what they are creating, this is a good reminder to not be afraid to try something new (but please, we are begging you to not try to make the next Wuphf).

Andy Bernard: Be Confident in Your Values

When Andy Bernard was introduced to the show in the third season, the other characters had conflicting opinions about him. It is true that Andy’s love for acapella singing and loud bowtie ensembles made a strong impression (for better or for worse), but his confidence in who he is is commendable either way.

Granted, being confident enough to take the “12 Days of Christmas” seriously and send someone multiple live birds is not what we would recommend…but there is still something to be said for the gusto! Whether you are selling a new product, communicating a core business value with your customers or are simply trying to get more engagement on social media, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Take some inspiration from this acapella fiend and think about what the equivalent of recording your own harmonizing ringtone would look like in your marketing efforts. Confidence is truly contagious and is a great way to keep yourself and your customers inspired by your messaging.

If you are ready to implement some new strategies into your content marketing efforts and aren’t sure where to start, we are here to help! Contact us today to learn more about what we do and how we can help your business.