This was a weekend full of big television events.
The biggest of course being the Royal Wedding. Who watched it? Don’t worry no judgement here. I threw a viewing party that ended with watching the Lifetime movie about their engagement. Now some might be embarrassed to admit that but honestly it was a great day. Congratulations to the pair on a beautiful wedding day and best wishes.
The weekend also included the 2018 Billboard Music Awards – Kelly Clarkson did a great job hosting. It was the finale of American Idol, congrats to the winner Maddie Poppe. It was The Voice finale, the Dancing with The Stars finale, and for those who watch hockey the Vegas Golden Knights just made history by beating the Winnipeg Jets to reach the Stanley Cup Final.
What a weekend! All I can say is that I’m thankful for my PVR.
What happens when you have this many events competing for the same few hours of our attention? Some might say that PVRs solve our problems here. Which is partly true. But what happens when the same event is being broadcasted on several different networks? Who do we choose to watch?
I recorded the Royal Wedding on about six different channels but only watched it on one. Once you watch the event on CBS there’s no need to re-watch it on ABC.
This represents the same problem businesses face every day. How do you differentiate your business from the rest? How do you get someone to buy your coffee instead of Starbucks? To choose your restaurant instead of McDonalds? To watch your broadcast of the Royal Wedding instead of CBS?
It comes down to differentiation.
Differentiation is the process of distinguishing a product or service from others, to make it more attractive to a particular target market.
But how do you do it?
Here’s a few steps to differentiate yourself from the competition with a little help from HBO and Funny or Die's Cord and Tish.
Understand your target market
You’ll never be able to sell the same product to everyone so don’t try. Focus on a very narrow target market and understand everything you can about them. Use this market’s demographics and psychographics to create a product or service that they will truly love. For the Royal Wedding, HBO and Funny or Die had Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon host the event in character as Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan. Now this type of humour won’t work for everyone but they obviously understand their audience.
Analyze the competition
You need to know what your competitors do well and where they are weak. Again, going back to the example of HBO and Cord and Tish, they were completely different than all the other networks. Now traditionally I wouldn’t think to watch an event like that on HBO so to draw people to their network they had to be different than all the other networks. Instead of the traditional model of co-host narrating the event, they brought some comedy to the mix.
Emphasize your unique selling proposition
What sets you apart from the competition? Is it your price? Your quality? Your brand personality? Whatever it is, you need to focus on that differentiator. In the case of HBO, it was having a good laugh and not taking the event or themselves too seriously. People knew exactly what they would get when tuning into that broadcast and they got what they expected.
Maintain a consistent brand image
This is incredibly important. You have to be consistent over time. Once you’ve developed your brand and found your differentiator, you have to be consistent. Saturday Night Live veterans, Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, previously brought these characters to life during the live broadcast of the 2018 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day on Amazon. The duo even promoted the event in character on the late-night circuit leading up to the event. They stayed true to their brand the entire time and were different than any other network covering the event.
So, take some notes from the fantastic job HBO and Funny or Die did in differentiating their Royal Wedding coverage from every other network on TV. Cord and Tish worked because they understood their target market, effectively analyzed what the competition was doing, emphasized what made them different, and stayed true to their brand.
These strategies can and should be applied to any and every business. I hope you guys enjoyed this event-packed weekend and good luck with your business.