7 Business Lessons Learned from The Hunger Games: Part 2

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7 Business Lessons Learned from the Hunger Games: Part 2


“You’ve got about as much charm as a dead slug.”

Haymitch Abernathy – to Katniss in The Hunger Games


Alliances are vital to survival in both the hunger games and in business, nearly all of the longest surviving tributes in the jungle survived the longest because of their alliances.


Q: If the tributes with the best alliances survived the longest, then why doesn’t everyone form an alliance?

A: Not every tribute was good at public relations! Only 9 of the 24 tributes were relevant or charming enough in the Hunger Games to have names and form alliances. The other 15 tributes were amorphous, non-important, non valuable, and insignificant.


It sounds cruel to say that 15 of the 24 human beings in the story were non-valuable, but lets consider the reality of the situation and how it applies to the business world.

In the ultra competitive world of the market place, there are two types of companies and products: Brands vs. Commodities. The 9 tributes in the hunger games that had names were branded. They had personalities, we loved them, we hated them, we knew a little bit about them and why they were important. The other 15 tributes were commodities. We did not ever learn the other tributes names, we don’t remember their faces, and we don’t remember what they were good at.

The commodity style companies and real estate investors simply have poor public relations. The ability to communicate with your audience is often the differentiating factor for victory in both the hunger games and in business.

The most successful business people, entrepreneurs and investors build a brand and have active public relations. In the hunger games, Haymitch the mentor wants his students to win the hearts and minds of the audience watching the games so he:

  • Creates a personality for each of his students, much like a personal brand
  • Has a stylist create an image and a personal style for his students
  • The personality and image create a brand with a slogan, Katniss the protagonist is dubbed “the girl on fire”
  • Haymitch creates a back-story and a public romance between his male and female students to win over the hearts and minds of the audience.
  • Haymitch’s students receive relatively high combat ratings from training which gain public favor.

All of the public relations moves above create a brand and the brand is what separates the last standing tributes from the 15 un-named tributes. Business is no different; the branded businesses dominate with great public relations and win the hearts and minds of both customers and investors. In contrast, unknown, unbranded companies and operators vanish into obscurity and simply die off or are swallowed by one of their larger, branded competitors.



“If no one sponsors me, my odds of staying alive decrease to almost zero.” Katniss


Life is not fair, The Hunger Games are not fair, and business certainly is not fair. Public relations are important to win an unfair advantage in the Hunger Games as the tributes compete for a limited amount of sponsor money.

There are 24 tributes competing for the attention and favor of a few wealthy and elite sponsors. The tributes who receive favor will receive the best equipment, survival gear, extra food, clothing, shelter, body armor, medicine and other unfair advantages in the games. Business is exactly the same.

With strong public relations and a brand, an entrepreneur or investor can win the favor of the limited number of investors or sponsors available in the market place. The best capitalized companies often have great equipment, happy employees, great marketing and other unfair advantages over their capital starved competitors.

Sponsors mean the difference between life and death in the Hunger Games and in business, having the financial backing of a few wealthy investors or sponsors will mean the difference between becoming the leader in the market and dying out early in the game.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

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10007528_10153951499500596_499871011_nStefan Aarnio, award winning real estate investor, entrepreneur, author and coach was recently inducted into the Rich Dad Hall of Fame. His book, “Money People Deal: The Fastest Way to Real Estate Wealth” is currently available on moneypeopledeal.com.  To learn more about Stefan Aarnio please visit StefanAarnio.com