What Reality TV Taught Me About Business

I recently was afforded an incredible opportunity to experience my own "15 minutes of fame" when I appeared in a supporting role with my 13-year-old son on a network reality cooking show for kids. Not only did we both take home some nifty new cooking skills, but we also learned some valuable life lessons along the way. Mine, in particular, were of the business nature.

Please allow me to share with you five key takeaways from my eye-opening adventure as a reality TV guest:

  • Perception Is Different Than Reality - When you watch reality TV, your perception of what is happening is often very different than the actual reality. What the audience sees is just part of the show - just short snippets from the vast hours that go into filming and production. The same can be said for your business. Your personal perception of your company or the business climate is often just a small part of the big picture. Your customers, competitors and the public may have a very different view. Focus groups and market research are great ways to fill in those gaps and get a more realistic, big-picture view of your business and the market at large.
  • Social Media Is a Powerful Force - As a marketer, I knew the importance social media, but the sheer power of it all really hit home for me when the reality show aired. While we watched the show, people were tweeting in real time about things my son said. He had an instant fan base that was already fiercely loyal - rooting him on and wanting to see him succeed. And there was a larger community of viewers who were eager to dialogue about the show. It truly amazed me. My takeaway: If your brand doesn't have a social media community out there talking about and engaging with your brand, it should. The potential is powerful.
  • Production Takes Time and Energy - One 60-minute episode took countless hours to produce and edit, not to mention a team of highly skilled professionals. The same is true for marketing. You can't expect to throw together a quick mailer or an ad and turn around your company's sales or image overnight. It takes time, know-how and a well-orchestrated "production" for your marketing programs to flourish. You also need to know what to "edit" from your business plans: when something isn't working, leave it on the cutting room floor.
  • Cast Is King - A reality show is only as good as its cast of characters. Their talent, personalities and remarks can make or break a show, and as you can imagine, there is a true art to casting. The same can be said for your business. Your employees are the public voice and face of your brand. Take time to cast the right ones, and continually invest in training and employee development to help your business maintain "high ratings" all year round.
  • Be Careful What You Say - Conduct your business like you are always being filmed or recorded. In this age of YouTube and camera phones, the reality is that it may very well be. Stay positive and don't say anything that may come back to bite. You also may want to consider public speaking and/or media training to those staff/executives in the public eye, and be sure to brief them before a big company event.
  • At Malouin Marketing, we believe in keeping it real. We provide support, guidance and expert marketing know-how to make your business goals a reality. Contact us for a FREE consultation.


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