April 19, 2016

This is American Idol…6 PR Lessons from One of America’s Most Loved Music Shows

By: Courtney Rose

Take Precaution: Be prepared for the overuse of American Idol catchphrases in this blog post!

Dawg…Can you believe it? American Idol is over…for now. The infamous Ryan Seacrest quote that’s got everyone like “What?!!” Yo, you feel me?

American Idol came to an end this month and for those of us that grew up with this show in our living rooms, it was like another chapter closing in our childhood and teen years. But it’s OK, because Olive PR Solutions has another reason to talk about it right now. Make some noise!

What does American Idol and public relations have in common? Actually, a lot. Building a community of people, who continue to stay fully engaged with what you have to say for 15 years, takes A LOT of work when it comes to PR and social media strategy. The Olives have voted, and here are 6 things American Idol has taught us in its final season. Dim the lights, because here we go…

  1. The power of a story. Everyone fell in love with La’Porsha Renee from the first day she took over our TV screens—why? Because she had a beautiful story and it was told very well. By telling her inspirational story, the audience was able to connect with her on many levels. American Idol made us feel compassion, love, determination, strength and more. The power of a story is key to every successful public relations campaign.
  2. Everyone loves the underdog. Everyone fell in love with La’Porsha’s story and voice (that girl can sing), and many thought she had the title in the bag. However, as the show progressed, America started to slowly fall in love with Trent Harmon, who ended up winning the final season. Trent had a rocky start on the show and definitely experienced some road blocks (he got sick and had to perform solo during group rounds). He was an outcast and fell behind. But as the episodes continued, he started to become more comfortable and we fell in love with his undeniable talent and consistency. Your product or business might not be the fan favorite from the beginning, but watch your positive momentum build when you stick to the plan and stay authentic with your messaging —it’s just as powerful as a heart-filled story.
  3. Community engagement. American Idol knows how to successfully connect with a community. During each contestant’s hometown visit they highlighted a “giveback element”—one contestant taught music to little kids and another put on a whole concert for their community. Incorporating a powerful, meaningful corporate social responsibility aspect in a PR campaign can take your company to the next level.
  4. Highlight Your Successes (or Your #Squad). Over the years, American Idol has had some amazing talent grace its stage—Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry and more. Almost every episode, American Idol brought back one of its talented “alumni” to take the stage and to remind viewers of their past triumphs. These moments of validation showed us how American Idol impacted (and changed!) lives. It’s important to weave these celebratory moments into your PR and social media campaigns, too (there’s #TBT for a reason).
  5. Don’t forget where you started. Where did you start? Where did you come from? American Idol always did a great job of sharing their contestants’ life paths on the show. Just like in a PR campaign, thinking about the beginning and the road that led us to where we are today is important. It’s part of the story and allows us to remember what we accomplished—what our mission, goals and vision are.
  6. Take action. You don’t see the contestants on American Idol stop once the show is over, do you? No. They know how to run with their talent and keep the story going. It’s no different when we’re talking about a successful PR or social media campaign. It’s all about clear communication, thoughtful follow-through and forward momentum.

So, thank you America Idol for showing us these 6 successful elements to include in our campaigns and for being good ol’ family entertainment for the last 15 years.

For now…Rose Out!