Five Business Takeaways From The Hunger Games

Table of Contents


With the release of the new movie, The Hunger Games, based on the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy by Susanne Collins, entrepreneurs can take away a lot more than the power of totalitarianism, friendship, hunger and courage.   

Warning…Spolier Alert!  The plot of the book & movie is discussed here, however, all quotes are taken from the book and no mention is made of what is seen (or not seen) in the movie.

Lesson #1 – Catch Their Attention!

"I take my initial position and skewer the dummy right through the heart…It’s excellent shooting. I turn to the Gamemakers. A few are nodding approval, but the majority of them are fixated on a roast pig that has just arrived at their banquet table…[So,] I pull an arrow from my quiver and send it straight at the Gamemakers’ table. I hear shouts of alarm as people stumble back. The arrow skewers the apple in the pig’s mouth and pins it to the wall behind it. Everyone stares at me…"

In business you have to stand out and be creative.  For example, here it is not enough that Katniss can shoot an arrow with accuracy. The Gamemakers have been watching talented tributes (as the children are called) all day. So, to stand out from the crowd Katniss shoots the apple out the pig's mouth.

I love this analogy because even though the tactic works, Katniss is still nervous about the end result of her behavior.  She knows that many of the Gamemakers' could be mad at her but she did it anyway. 

The same is true in business. To stand out you have to do and say unconventional things. For example, you have to have an opinion, and you can't be afraid to ruffle a few feathers…or in this case, hear a few "oink's"!

What do you do to stand out from the crowd? Remember, if you aren't standing out, you are blending in!

Lesson #2 – Utilize Your Strengths!

"They are closing in, just like a pack of wild dogs, and so I do what I have done my whole life in such circumstances. I pick a high tree and begin to climb…I'm fast.  By the time they’ve reached the base of my trunk, I’m twenty feet up."

In business, you must know your strengths and learn to play to them as much as possible.  Katniss knows that she is an excellent climber. It is this knowing confidence that she has in her strengths that allows her to think clearly under stress. 

Do YOU know your strengths inside and out?  Have you claimed them recently?  Or, do you down play your strengths?  In these shaky economic times, it is even more important than ever to show your confidence.  Shoppers want what they don't have and many people are lacking confidence these days.  Show them, that by working with you or buying your product, they will get theirs back!

Lesson #3 – Go Above and Beyond for your Clients/Customers!

"I sit there, watching my tears drip down on her face. Rue’s cannon fires [she is dead]… A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers.  I gather up an armful and come back to Rue’s side. Slowly, one stem at a time, I decorate her body in the flowers. Covering the ugly wound. Wreathing her face. Weaving her hair with bright colors."  

While the life of a small business owner means that you are ALWAYS busy, it is important that you still go above and beyond for your clients and customers.  Make them feel special and unique.  A little extra care can go a long way.  This can turn a short-term client into a long-term one, and create a life-long referral customer.

Likewise, be sure the gesture is genuine, reflects your personality, and asks for nothing in return as Katniss has done here, in this scene.  Rue was her ally in the Hunger Games and being there for her in death was not enough.  She went above and beyond to give Rue the only kind of memorial she could get in the Arena.

What do you do for your clients or customers that goes above and beyond?

Lesson #4- Creating an Urgent Problem

"If I want to keep Peeta alive, I’ve got to give the audience something more to care about. Star-crossed lovers desperate to get home together. Two hearts beating as one. Romance." 

This is a lesson that even the best of business owners can forget about at times.  In your marketing for any product or service, you have to remind your audience of why they NEED it and why the need it now!  To do this, it is important to remind your audience of their symptoms, and the results they are longing for.  Don't distract them with "the process." Rather, give them the before and after images. 

Even as Katniss is fighting for her life, she knows that survival is not enough.  She has to remind the audience of why they want her and Peeta to win.  She has to make their survival important to the audience so that they will continue to send generous gifts into the Arena and keep Peeta alive.

Have you created urgency in your marketing message?

Lesson #5 – Analyze Your Results

"Maybe Peeta is right…like how I knew I must be close to water when [Haymitch] withheld it and how I knew the sleep syrup just wasn’t something to ease Peeta’s pain and how I know now that I have to play up the romance. He hasn’t made much effort to connect with Peeta really. Perhaps he thinks a bowl of broth would just be a bowl of broth to Peeta, whereas I’ll see the message behind it."

Results are not just results.  In business, it is important to look at why things happen and why they don't happen?  What did you do, not do, or change? Tracking your results is an important way to measure your audiences desires and a great way to gain clarity around the direction your business should be heading.

Here, Katniss doesn't just receive gifts, she thinks about the why's, how's, and when's behind each gift.   Then, she adjusts her behavior to increase the number of gifts or quality of the next gift.  In the Arena, she must do this to save her life.  But, in business we also need to be constantly adjusting and changing to stay with our audience.

Have you read or watched the Hunger Games?  What other lessons have you found in it? Drop by my fan page at and let me know what you think!


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David Fletcher
David Fletcher
11 years ago

Great read

Reply to  David Fletcher
11 years ago

Thanks, David!

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