The X Factor Brand part II

The X Factor is a global brand.  On this map, dark blue shows the countries where they have their own version of X Factor, the light blue shows countries where they are participating in an international version and the grey shows countries where X Factor has little or no presence.

This blog is a continuation from last one on how X Factor has become this massive brand that has dominated TV for almost 10 years.

3. Focus on what you are good at

X Factor singers are criticised if their performances lack personality and are too similar to the original. Judges comment that they “sound like…” which is not always a compliment even if the original was amazing. Judges look for personality and a voice that is distinct to that one performer. With brands, the ones that stand out are the ones that have authenticity that genuinely reflect distinct values. Brands reflect the personality of an organisation, think of Apple.

4. You only have a few minutes

Contestants put in hours of practice and only get a few minutes to prove themselves on stage to the audience and judges. The short attention span of today’s audiences makes it even more important that messages are clear and get to the point quickly. In terms of brands, this can involve creating an emotional memory or something simple and repeatable.

5. Consistency matters

There’s nothing worse than seeing the performance of someone you’ve been rooting for ruined by inconsistency! When you listen to your favourite artist, their style may not always be the same, but there is something in their tone of voice or delivery that makes you a fan. Consistency means a lot.

For a brand, it’s about repeating your distinct message, logo, voice and identity. While brands evolve as markets change and new products are developed, brand equity is built on consistency and customer loyalty.

6. Taking criticism

It’s easy to pick out the difficult over-confident performers in talent shows. They brushoff the advice of the judges and respond defensively even when they know that the performance was bad.

Brand’s face criticism through social media and other outlets. It is very important not to “shoot the messenger” but rather use the feedback to improve. Sometimes the greatest opportunities for improvement lie in criticism that hurts a little (or sometimes a lot!)

7. Your fans are your best followers

There are loads of X Factor fan sites. All these fans have opinions and are ready to fight for them. These fans can even change the way the competition is judged.

Social media is now an integral part of most brand strategies with good reason. They present an opportunity to rally the most passionate fans and involve them. Social networks provide a great way to listen in and ultimately enable you to establish what is really important to the customers that you want to engage with.

For me X Factor and other talent shows are about the entertainment value. Here you have 12 contestants battling it out for a £1 million recording contract and practically overnight fame. Why not? Results are manipulated, judges bicker meaninglessly, novelty acts create a media buzz…the formula works even though ratings are down.