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The Voice’s one key branding guidepost, & why tonight could be its finest hour

Posted on 10 Dec 2013 in Branding, Marketing, Product Development, Story, Storytelling | Comments Off on The Voice’s one key branding guidepost, & why tonight could be its finest hour

Adam Levine, People's Sexiest Man Alive and The Voice Season 5's winningest Coach

Adam Levine, People Mag’s Sexiest Man Alive, and The Voice Season 5’s most dominant coach, with a guaranteed winner (read on). Also, this is the first and hopefully only time I’ll feel obligated to feature People’s Sexiest Man Alive.

I’m really into NBC’s main singing competition show, The Voice.
I blogged about my obsession a few months ago.
As with any obsession worth its salt, I’m still trying to put in words what it is that’s worth obsessing about.
One key synergy of the Voice with my Branding/Marketing life, though, is the similarity between Voice and Brand.

The Voice

The Voice’s main advertised Unique Selling Proposition is the opening rounds, with the distinct difference being auditioners performing while the celebrity coaches (Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Cee-Lo Green and Christina Aguilera) have their backs turned on special high-back chairs. They only see the contestant once the song is over, unless they push their big red button to choose them to be on their team.
Season 5’s Blinds were weeks ago, with contestants going through the rigours and heartbreak of several rounds of eliminations.
In fact, the last Tuesday proved that even being the fastest ever to have all four coaches pick you doesn’t guarantee safety.

Why you can get away with only watching tonight

As with all singing competition shows, the climax is the crowning of one winner.

However, televised singing competition history’s proved that you don’t have to be THE winner to actually win, with such famed examples as Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken.

The Voice proves it every year: around this time in every season cycle, they bring back alumni to perform. A bunch of those are slated for tonight, including all 3 Finalists from Season 4.
In fact, every single performer who’s reached the Finals has been back for this national TV exposure.
Making the Finals is really winning a professional, high-profile singing career.
So, in short, winners announced live tonight win what they wanted out of this show: The Voice really has 3 winners.
So I think you can get away with only watching it tonight.
(I’m curious to test this theory out, so if you watched and haven’t watched before, let me know in the Comments if it made any sense to you! Also FYI while I’m here: we PVR this show so please avoid spoilers. Thanks!)

Your Brand

What is brand?
Many consider this simply the logo or the design of your outward-facing materials such as your store, your website and your brochures. We branding professionals put a lot of thought, and often over-thought, into every aspect of these elements. A really nice simplified way to look at your brand is that it’s your Voice, and how it sounds to your target audience(s). And this encompasses logo, design, etc. But at its heart, it’s much much more. So how’s your voice?

The key Voice-related question

Once we get to know singing competition contestants, a big part of the excitement is seeing what song this known voice’ll do next.
Imagine being like that as a brand, where your target customers are waiting for your next “song”.
It boils down to this simple branding question to ask yourself and your business:
What’re you going to do next, that your target audience most wants to see?

Several paraphrases of the same question:

  • Are you as a spokesperson a suitable face that your target wants to see or hear from? Is there a better voice? (my opinion, echoed by many of my peers, is that there usually is a better voice)
  • Is there a product you could offer that your customers want? (think Apple when iPhone first came out)
  • Is there a product usage that helps your customers out? (recently I bought ReaLemon over the generic brand because it came with a free spray bottle and cleaning tips)
  • Is there a product feature that escapes the obvious? (did you know cloth diapers reduce rashes?)
  • Is there a time-limited offer that becomes like news to your potential customer? (coupons or Social Media only deals)
  • Is there a compelling story that you can frame around your product? (Facebook’s is out there on a grand scale with that movie. Getting Aaron Sorkin, David Fincher and Trent Reznor on-board is not a bad move…)

Working on brand is challenging, but it intrigues me every day.
Please contact me if you’d like to have a chat on these lines.
Just maybe avoid 9/8 Central tonight…


So now what do we have to say for ourselves?…

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Lam Tang, Principal, ThatGuyWriting Brand Consultancy