The new judges on American Idol showed what happens when brands are humanized. The American Idol brand has regained a heart and soul. Can you say the same about your brand?
Judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler ushered in a new attitude. As a result, American Idol learned an important lesson this season-how to engage its audience in a different way.
You know what? It worked. Approximately 29 million people watched the show this year, up from 5 million viewers last year.
The judges moved beyond their traditional role of offering critical evaluations of each performance. The judges worked hard to offer legitimate suggestions for how the performers could improve their acts. The result was collaboration between the polished entertainers and raw talent.
A New Movement
Humanizing your brand represents a much bigger movement than just one season of American Idol. Smart companies of the future understand this is the new way that businesses and consumers are interacting on-line and offline. No matter the size, companies can humanize their brand with personal, one-on-one attention to customers through their social media platforms.
Here are four tips from American Idol that can show you ways to humanize your brand on social media:
1. Tell a story.
People don't want more information. They want faith-faith in you, your goals, your success, your story. Every contestant on American Idol had a unique story that they shared with the audience. Viewers watched that story progress from their audition to the final night.
A good story has the following components:
- Inspirational-we're looking for heroes and we like finding them in people just like us.
- Resilience-we admire people who are knocked down but find the strength to get back up.
- Personal-we love to lose ourselves in the experience of others and imagine ourselves doing something similar.
2. Provide value.
Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler chose their words carefully when addressing their audience-words that went beyond criticism, and instead, offered specific and concrete suggestions on how the contestants could change their behavior or performance.
In social media there are three different types of value you can offer:
- Pointers to other content that is entertaining or informative.
- Personal insights.
- Advice and assistance.
3. Get reciprocity.
Audience participation is essential. It's no longer about telling your audience what to think or say, or worse-ignoring what they have to think or say. This has always been a key element to the success of American Idol-the audience's opinion is just as important as those of the judges.
There are 3 different types of reciprocity:
- Giving something with an explicit quid pro quo-the expectation of receiving something else in return.
- Doing something as an investment in the future, hoping the favor may be repaid.
- Donating with no thought of repayment.
Most of us don't hesitate to ask for a favor in return for one given to us. It allows us to repay a debt-in the same way, consumers may take something you have to offer and feel more loyalty to your brand because of it.
4. Be emotional.
A lot of people in business operate behind a plastic façade, a façade that's been created by slick advertising campaigns. These images are predictable, boring, and until now, safe. They no longer have the same appeal to audiences. Who can forget the real emotions that surfaced from the judges when one of their favor contestants was voted off American Idol? Real emotions-and viewers responded.
Do you want to be more attractive to your audience? Then do the following:
- Get connected
- Risk emotion
- Be authentic
American Idol is one example of how audiences are reacting to a brand that shows heart and soul. Thanks to social media, it's becoming more important for companies to do the same thing and humanize their brand.
How can you make your story interesting? How can you bring emotion to your brand? How can you join the movement and personalize your brand?