Corporate Eye

Extending the J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter Brands

harry potter reading clubThe Harry Potter brand is one of the most powerful brands in the world and represents one of the best examples of relationship branding in history. Furthermore, J.K. Rowling is one of the best examples of a brand champion.

The last book in the Harry Potter series was published in 2009, but that hasn’t stopped the brand from strategically extending. With the launch of Pottermore earlier this year, the brand entered the digital world and fans followed. Now, not only is new content coming to Pottermore, but the Harry Potter brand is set to expand a bit further.

On July 31st, Scholastic (the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter book series) announced the new online Harry Potter Reading Club where children, teachers, librarians, and more can experience the world of Harry Potter together. The site is filled with educational tools, dictionaries, teaching guides, activities, and more. To kick off the official launch of the Harry Potter Reading Club, J.K. Rowling will host a virtual visit on October 11, 2012. In keeping with the tease marketing that has been at work behind the Harry Potter brand for the past decade, this marks the first time that Rowling has taken questions from children in years.

At the same time, J.K. Rowling is quietly teasing audiences about her next project — a book for adults called The Casual Vacancy that she promises will be quite different from Harry Potter. The book won’t be released until September, but it has been in the top 100 books on Amazon since it appeared on the site for pre-order.

Both the J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter brands are perfect examples of the three core steps of brand building in action: consistency, persistence, and restraint. Fans are left wanting more and small teases of what’s to come keep them on the edge of their seats.

I pre-ordered my copy of The Casual Vacancy. Have you?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.