Love Island – love it or hate it, there’s no denying it has captured the public imagination.
This slice of summer escapism has become the TV equivalent of a holiday romance for millions across the country.
What’s the attraction? One thing is for sure: Love Island is a fantastic example of how to engage your audience and get people coming back for more. As such, it offers some valuable communication lessons.
If you’re a regular consumer of reality TV you’ll know that the winners usually develop as the series continues. Despite all the rows and outrageous characters, what viewers really want to watch is a character arc or personal journey. That’s something we shouldn’t neglect in our communications.
It may be a project, a new product launch or the recruitment of a new team but, while it’s tempting just to tell people about it when everything is ready for launch, if you want to truly engage people, take them along for the ride, sharing the good and bad times and empower them to have a say in how the journey develops.
In an age where communication noise is deafening, making a great first impression is essential.
Subtle just doesn’t cut it on reality TV so if you want to compete against the big characters, being shy isn’t an option.
That doesn’t mean being fake (audiences will tend to side with those who are honest and likeable in the end) but it does mean you can’t let yourself get steamrollered by the opposition.
Give your communications attitude and personality, don’t take yourself too seriously, be entertaining, but above all stick to your values. Tell the truth, build trust, be prepared to share good and bad, and keep it real. If not, your target audience will quickly see through you and send you packing.
Give your communications attitude and personality,
don’t take yourself too seriously, be entertaining,
but above all stick to your values.”
OK, Love Island probably isn’t really geared up for long-term relationships, but anyone knows that love doesn’t last long if you let it go stale
Contestants on the show are well aware that, even if things start well, the producers are always going to throw attractive competition into the mix to shake things up and compete for attention.
In the same way, if we don’t keep freshening up our communications, even our most loyal followers will look elsewhere.
That’s why it’s also important to be dependable and consistent. It may not be the most exciting aspect of a relationship, but building trust and always being there in times of need, such as during change or when dealing with difficult news, is the foundation of good communication. Above all, never go missing when it matters most.
Love generally won’t last if it’s superficial, so build a relationship with employees; make them care and genuinely trust you.
As I write this feature it’s hard not to refer to ‘our target audience’ but, in reality, the words audience or readership simply no longer cut it.
In the age of social media, truly successful internal communication is a two-way relationship. Involve employees, start a conversation, and empower them to play their part.
The real genius of Love Island is its ability to harness the power of social media, sparking a 24-hour conversation that starts online and continues in offices and homes across the country.
Love Island is a great example of a production team that knows its audience, identifies what they want and delivers it in spades. As communicators, we need to constantly strive to do the same. ”
That’s when a TV show turns from being a one-hour fix into something more meaningful and it’s what sets Love Island apart from its rivals.
Love Island is a great example of a production team that knows its audience, identifies what they want and delivers it in spades.
As communicators, we need to constantly strive to do the same. Care about who you are engaging with, make the effort to understand what matters to them and work tirelessly to meet that need.
Love Island is a great example of a show that was simply in the right place at the right time.
Popular concepts come and go and, while TV producers will continue to back them while the ratings stay high, they instinctively know when an idea has run its course.
So the trick is to capture the moment, make the most of it, but identify early when things are on the wane.
Also, keep your eye on the latest industry trends (Sequel produces an annual Trends Book that might give you a helping hand), so you can spot the next big thing before it becomes the next big thing.
It’s not about following fashion for fashion’s sake, but it is about knowing who you’re talking to and delivering communications that suit their changing needs.
As communicators, it’s our job to communicate honestly and to become a trusted source. Much like reality TV though, modern audiences have a limited attention span.
That’s why the true magic of Love Island is often in the edit and voiceover. Without those two elements even ‘larger than life’ characters would appear dull. Much like any social media platform, what we get to see is usually the carefully edited highlights reel of the interesting bits, good and bad.
This editing (stitched into a story by an expertly worded commentary) has the power to transform sometimes ordinary content into an addictive storyline. It also creates those all-important cliff-hangers that get us coming back for more.
So fear not – the need for expert communicators and editors still exists and, in fact, is the secret ingredient of successful engagement.
You can’t expect people to love your communications if you don’t put love into everything you do.
Be passionate about your work, enjoy what you’re doing, inject heart-felt energy and it will shine through.
Game for a laugh
‘Must have good sense of humour’ is probably high on the list of priorities when looking for love. It’s also no coincidence that Iain Stirling’s comic narration was one of the secrets of Love Island’s success in 2017.
So why do internal communicators often shy away from injecting humour into our content?
Bupa recently worked with Sequel on a poster campaign to encourage employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
The campaign could have been dull and clinical, but they instead opted to use pop song puns and fun, colourful cartoons to make the campaign witty, amusing and memorable.
The campaign has been a big hit with employees and the company even had to up its order of soap as a result.