In my unofficial poll of the people in my circle more than three-quarters have made a negative remark about Reality TV. Which suggests that not only should the Reality TV stars be concerned about their brand and image, but so should the people producing these shows.
I actually watch very little TV, so it’s surprising to some that when I do turn it on, that I actually choose Reality TV as part of the lineup. I’m fascinated by it all because I learn so much by studying people. But I also watch with a pragmatic eye. I’m aware that it’s mostly about business. And while I do see many opportunities for improvement; by wholly condemning the medium we end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sherri Shepard from The View said recently on Twitter…
Sherri raises a valid point but I think it’s important to take it for what it is – Reality TV is a medium which will always attract some viewers through drama, nonsense, violence and tragedy. Maybe some producers think that is the only way they will get us to watch. There is another side however.
The discerning can glean the positive aspects of Reality TV. Not just for branding and launching new ventures for which I take special note – but topics around relationships, communication, health and wellness, friendship, family ties, and tenacity of spirit. I acknowledge the value in all of these things and remain hopeful that Reality TV isn’t tempted to sink to the negative depths of the nightly news.
Let’s tell a better story.
I am a dog person. And though dogs will never rank up there with my kids, I can definitely relate to having a well-groomed pooch. But Quad Webb-Lunceford of Married to Medicine fame, is taking this concept to an altogether different level. She’s launching a new line of couture clothing for dogs called Picture Perfect Pup. And of course I’m fascinated by her brand concept and how reality TV will impact her launch.
First let me just tap into Twitter demographic mode for a moment… This morning I read a tweet from her design partner Reco Chapple….
I adore this man’s energy! And industry numbers have even better news. Overall US sales in 2014 for all pet supplies (within which doggy clothes fall) are forecasted at $13.72 billion dollars. That’s billion with a big ol’ B. So while not all of this segment is about puppy clothes – it is a pretty sizable market.
At the same time, the pet industry is contracting a bit. This market now includes fewer dog owners overall; and even fewer who will ever make the investment in a luxe doggy brand – no matter how adorable or well promoted. Luxury brands are always exclusionary. My thought is that they should take a look at the well-executed examples of “Affordable Luxe.” You do remember the collaboration between Target and Neiman Marcus for the myriad of designers that they’ve launched at Target stores? I bet this would be a very viable angle for Quad’s team to consider because it can convert more of the viewing audience delivered by BravoTV into customers. For Married to Medicine the average number of weekly viewers for their new episodes is about 1.8 million people.
So Quad can thank both Bravo and Mariah for making her relevant. (I’m completely kidding about the Mariah factor – but Mariah has a great brand concept brewing too if she’ll take note. I’ll discuss that in my next post.)
So here’s what I love about Quad’s new venture. First, it’s an extension of who she is. She personally comes off as likable, charismatic, driven and original and that bodes well for her emerging brand.
I also love how she’s added a non-profit to the mix to raise money and awareness for Canine Companions for Independence. This was a really good move. Her argument that she’d purchased school supplies just didn’t lend enough credibility to counterbalance the “superficial factor” raised by her husband on the last episode.
I think her brand will also scale really well. She can extend her line beyond clothes and offer accessories and other products.
There is definitely a market for her brand if it remains a pure luxury offering. I can envision this in boutiques frequented by the pet-pampering, disposable income set. However, I think “Afforable Luxe” branding concepts are the way to go for bigger profits.
I’ll be watching to see how Picture Perfect Pup is ultimately rolled out to retailers. I can’t wait to see the particulars.
Stay very busy Ms. Quad.
I’m just going to jump into the fray here. And it’s going to seem sudden to some of you – but I’ve been a die-hard fan of reality TV since I can’t tell you when. My local Atlanta market is teeming with reality stars – and so I’ve decided to launch my self-indulgent series entitled Branding Reality. Here I’m going to talk about my fascination with the shows and the brands and business opportunities that emerge and soar from the fifteen minutes of fame afforded to all.
There is an art to making reality TV work for you and not against you. In fact I think you MUST enter the whole realm with your eyes wide open and a real plan in order to reap the deeper benefits. Because let’s face it, you give up sooooo much of your privacy and sense of peace to be on these types of shows that it better pay off for you in the long run.
Thankfully, most of the women on the Real Housewives and Married to Medicine (Bravo franchises) seem to have a plan – or else they’re coached by others to help them get to the next level. And though it makes for good gossip some of the reality stars just aren’t prepared for the spotlight and I’ll highlight those cringe-worthy/brand-decimating moments too…
In any event – let’s get started… My current favorite standout from Sunday’s episode is Lisa Nicole from Married to Medicine. Let’s just say that judging by her website she’s not new to branding and marketing. Her nickname is Ms. Millionaire Maker – so it’s really no surprise that she came on the show this season primed and ready to go.
I’m going to state the obvious here – these shows are edited for ratings and are frequently designed to cast people in such a poor light in order to build the hype. But so far Lisa Nicole’s personal brand get’s an A +. She comes off as approachable, authentic and secure – no doubt balanced by her off-screen accomplishments.
Lisa Nicole’s branding lessons for you: She is the poster child for multiple streams of income and it all intertwines beautifully on her website. Just to do a bit of geeky analysis here – Did you notice the name of the MLM organization on BravoTV? Her marketing and coaching programs seem to leave it off as well, which kind of suggests that she discovered the secret of doing well in an MLM structure. Either get involved early in a successful MLM and really work to build your downline or funnel the traffic off into your own side-hustle. Kudos – that’s well played.
I’ll also be tweeting along with the shows to provide my insights as they occur to me – so follow me @costorybrand on Twitter.