I’d like to say that at 7pm every Saturday night I am in the throes of a prosecco fuelled beautifying session, in preparation for a night on the tiles…but let’s face it, that would be a lie. In fact, I am usually nestled on the sofa, with a cup of tea and something I’ll regret eating, waiting for the latest episode of Strictly. I, along with nearly 10 million other people, who cannot get enough of the ballroom phenomenon. But what is it that makes Strictly such a success and how can we can we harness some of their rhinestone fuelled magic for use in our own marketing efforts? Well, we could start by moving the office to Blackpool, employing someone called Kevin from Grimsby and upping our fake tan usage, but I’m afraid this is not the answer…so what is? Well, here are five mantras we could all live by!
1. Image is important
170,000 rhinestones, 31,000 hairpins, 504 cans of hairspray and 57 litres of fake tan go in to each series of Strictly. Excessive? Maybe, but it all goes to show that image is important. People enjoy the escapism and glamour of Strictly, it transports them away from their cup of tea and sofa which is an important part of their branding. Businesses should always be asking how does my branding make people feel; how does the imagery and presentation of this campaign speak to my clients or prospects? 90 percent of all information we perceive, that is transmitted to our brains is visual, so how we present ourselves is important. Ok, we can’t all go down the ‘sequins route’ but brands should always provide the best representations of themselves. If your business is about security, then your branding and visuals should represent strength and structure, if it is about customer service, then they should represent trust, knowledge and proactivity. If all else fails, grab a feather boa.
2. Keep it real
Ok, this seems like a slightly dichotomous statement when I have just listed the amount of fake tan used, but image only goes so far. Strictly is primarily a talent show, but people generally vote for who they like. The viewer puts their trust in the celebrity and if their personality shines through, they tend to go far. This is also true for brands. It is so important to showcase the personality behind your brand. We, at Sherpa, value transparency and like to keep our communications as human as possible, because at the end of the day that’s exactly what we are! Our skillset speaks for itself, but if you don’t like us as people, then a partnership will not work. People expect honesty and consistency and do not expect to be greeted with a different attitude once they have signed on the dotted line. The more human your brand, the further you will go…create relationships, collaborate, be honest and if you make mistakes, own them and learn from them. People lose faith quickly if you break their trust…just ask Shaunn Walsh.
3. Hard work goes a long way
My father was a headmaster for many years and growing up we used to tease him for his consistently used mantra of ‘work hard and play hard’. Now, a ‘few’ years down the line, I get it; he was absolutely right. Each week on strictly we are shown a VT of each couple training round the clock, working diligently to perfect each step and having a good time whilst doing it. Each step is perfectly planned and a lot of hard work goes in to making sure they are polished. A lot of the contestants are outside of their comfort zone and learn new skills because of it. We should all learn from this! Campaigns should be diligently planned, hard work should not be shied away from, comfort zones should be expanded to gain new skills and although the process can be enjoyable, the real fun starts when the successes start rolling in. Don’t be the company performing the awkward improvised exit dance!
4. Be relevant.
In 1950 ‘Come Dancing’ appeared on screens and ran for a whopping 48 years. However, ballroom dancing soon fell out of favour and the glitter-ball stopped spinning. However, in 2004, researchers discovered a ‘golden time’ in the TV schedule where families tended to come together and watch something suitable for all age groups. Through this customer insight Strictly was born. The show is tailored to its target ‘family’ audience, keeps people engaged with interactive voting and each week tells a story through the carefully selected theme and the contestants’ journey. This is something we could all learn from. Keep content customer centric, interactive and relevant, keep consumers engaged with storytelling and make sure your marketing, branding and business are evolving with the landscape, so you can keeeeeep dancing (sorry!).
5. Sharing is caring
Social media comes alive on Saturday night, with Strictly and X factor trending on a weekly basis. The marketing team at Strictly is excellent at encouraging interaction, sharing behind the scenes footage with followers and creating a conversation around the show. They make viewers feel valued and involved. This is exactly how brands should be using social media. Create conversations about topical and relevant events, share behind the scenes information, create agile content which prompts reactions from followers and keep sharing.
Strictly is now so successful that it has been exported to more than 50 countries. They have identified a formula which works, tailored it for their target audience, created conversation around it and have experienced growth. What’s not to say, the same can’t be said for brands looking to employ a similar strategy? Create a brand which looks good, keeps it real, works hard, is relevant and makes customers feel valued and scale will follow.
Now that would be FAB-U-LOUS.
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