This past weekend, millions of viewers tuned into the VMAs and even more tweeted about it. While many of us were actually interested in finding out who won Video of the Year, the show proves to be about more than just the awards. Instead, it’s about the experience provided for fans—celebrity interviews, musical performances and usually even a few bizarre moments. All of these components tied together are what make the show entertaining and help viewers feel like they’re part of the event, while also giving people something to talk about online.
In many ways, this is similar to all of the components of building and personalizing a corporate brand presence online. Customers, fans and followers want more than just information about products and services. They want a full experience including a look at the people behind the brand and internal happenings that make the company unique. Personalizing a corporate brand can help a company build relationships with others and create an engaging online community.
Here are five ways that personalizing your corporate brand is similar to an award show:
1. Viewers want a look behind the scenes.
Viewers want to see more than the scripted announcements and on-stage performances. They want to see camera cuts to celebrities stepping out of their limos and stars mingling around dinner tables. Seeing this footage throughout the event allows viewers to feel like they are getting the inside scoop and help make them feel more connected to the event.
Similarly, followers of corporate brands want information that doesn’t come across as general knowledge or something that could be easily found on a company website. To build a deeper connection with the online audience, brands should share information that shows internal events, a behind-the-scenes look into how a product is made or fun facts about employees. Digging into the deeper layers of a company and its offerings allows customers to feel like they have a holistic view and understanding of the organization.
2. Interviews show personality.
Celebrity interviews allow the viewers to see what the stars are like when they aren’t on stage. It gives us a window into their world as they more candidly talk about their personal lives and share thoughts on certain topics. This is what sets celebrities apart from one another and helps viewers imagine what it might be like to actually have a conversation with these stars, making them more relatable.
Just like getting to hear directly from the celebrities, people want to get to know your brand by hearing from the staff. Encouraging employees to do some of the talking is a great way for companies to get personal, allowing the audience to receive information from other people and not just an organization. In fact, the 2015 Trust Barometer results show a company’s employees are more trusted than the CEO when sharing content online. Companies can share digital content that highlights individual employee experiences or shows an executive’s thought leadership on industry topics.
3. The dress matters.
In the world of Hollywood, it’s no surprise that looks matter. Celebrities and stars put a lot of time and money into their appearance when attending an award show. Fashion can sometimes matter even more than other show components. If it’s done right, red carpet fashion can be talked about for days following the event.
For brands, it’s not just about what is being said but how it is being presented. Rich media is now essential in generating interest online. Corporate brands need to show off their content in a visual way to catch people’s attention and encourage engagement. Packaging social posts in the right way can get online users talking and possibly even get them to share content on the brand’s behalf.
4. It’s all about the trends.
Award shows are all about what’s trending right now – the hottest songs, fashion, and gossip. Celebrities want to be relevant and show they have a lot in common with their fans. We’ve seen this done successfully when Ellen snapped the infamous ”selfie” at the Oscars in 2014 and broke Twitter records. It is these moments that get fans excited and provide unique experiences for the viewer.
Likewise, brands need to show they are relevant by taking part in conversations that are timely and that their audience has an interest in. For instance, if a hashtag is trending on Twitter on a relevant topic, the brand should incorporate it into content and join in the conversation. This shows the company is nimble and can have fun with popular topics, while providing an opportunity for the brand to be part of the larger conversation and reach a wider audience.
5. Acknowledge the fans.
In almost every acceptance speech, celebrities acknowledge and thank the fans. They show that they appreciate the support and wouldn’t be receiving the award if it wasn’t for their following. This makes fans feel like they are a part of the larger community that stands behind a specific artist.
Online, it is also essential that brands acknowledge followers on a regular basis. This can be done by opening up questions on social channels to hear directly from the audience or even polling them on brand decisions – showing them that their voices matter. This will allow followers to feel like they are part of an inviting online community and help establish strong connections by encouraging an ongoing two-way dialogue.
Image credit: Anthony Quintano