Bachelorette fans know that watching contestants vie for roses can be painful, and yet find themselves compelled to watch the trainwreck Monday after Monday. Awkward introductions, tacky gifts, and ill-timed stunts make at least a few contestants infamous from the outset, while drama and scandal perpetuate their notoriety throughout the season. On the other hand, more conservative contestants – the group that causes us to wonder, “why are they single?” – sometimes get overlooked by the bachelorette and producers alike. Nevertheless, there’s hope for singles willing to subject themselves to ABC’s absurd dating game. Like effective marketing, The Bachelorette is all about strategy.
But when the stakes are high and the web is tangled, what’s a guy to do?
Contestants typically deploy one of three strategies: 1. Abandon sense of self and cater to the potential fiance’s every whim. 2. Behave ridiculously 24-7 in an attempt to become infamous (since you were never looking for love, anyway.) 3. Be yourself. Likeable contestants who take this last approach put themselves in the running for the biggest prize of all: a chance to start ABC’s next season of The Bachelor.
Marketers should opt for option 3. After all, a successful brand is not that different from The Bachelorette fan favorite. Both gain the audience’s respect, have longevity, generate healthy revenue and amass a loyal fan following. And while I can’t believe I’m saying this, I believe there are lessons to be learned from this ridiculously addictive show and its savviest of contestants. So marketers, consider taking a page from Sean Lowe’s book:
1. Be Authentic. Though the bachelor/ette rarely picks up on it, fans can sniff out insincerity in a matter of soundbites. Contestants who articulate genuine thoughts and feelings stand out as relatable and trustworthy.
Marketers, if you want the world to fall in love with your brand, you have to be real. Keep your promises. Don’t communicate solely to promote yourself (particularly on social). Establish a strong brand character, and keep it consistent.
2. First impressions matter. The best contestants don’t ignore the first impression rose, but don’t make asses of themselves trying to get it, either. (Backflips, love eggs, nudity, and wedding dresses have yet to end in anything but embarrassment and heartbreak.) Gimmicks and stunts may earn short term attention, but fans lose respect and interest quickly.
The classiest introductions are polished, personal, and informative. Much like contestants, marketers must describe the value of their brands succinctly and clearly. Communicate your brand’s value to an audience whose attention is limited and proverbial roses are few.
3. Responsive, open conversation is king. Lack of meaningful conversations almost always results in a tearful limo ride to the airport. Enduring contestants communicate their feelings in real time, address concerns head-on, and listen well.
Like the Bachelorette, consumers want to know that they’re heard and valued. Don’t be afraid to follow your fans on twitter, address their concerns across social platforms and interact with them in real time. Listen to your audience, and respond to their unique needs and interests.
4. Make emotional connections. Chemistry. Emotions. Connection. At the end of the day, that’s what makes us fall in love with the soon-to-be-Bachelors. Our favorites wear their hearts on their sleeves and captivate us with genuine outpourings of feeling.
To win consumers’ long-term love, brands need to do this more than anything else: Find out what emotional benefits your brand provides to consumers, and make it your mission to deliver them.