Just one more episode.
We’ve all been there. You know you should be going to bed, doing laundry, hitting the gym or engaging in something more constructive than gluing your eyeballs to a screen, but you can’t help yourself. We’re in the age of binging, whether it’s the new series everyone is buzzing about or that old show you happened to stumble upon. (Personally, these are my favorite—you can watch the whole thing from beginning to end and don’t have to wait for new seasons to be released.)
What makes us binge—and how can your organization have that affect on consumers?
As I considered this question, I realized that there are many factors influencing this behavior that can provide clues into the effectiveness of your brand:
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1. Start with the murder. I don’t mean a literal murder. Think of a television show that hooks you in right away. It starts with something big that grabs your attention. Within the first several minutes, it has you thinking “Holy cow, where is this going?” At that point, it’s got you. You’re going to sit there for days and weeks, following the story to find out what happens.
- What is your brand’s hook?
- What immediate experience can you provide that will have your audience coming back for more?
2. Follow a compelling storyline. Every good show follows a logical storyline from the beginning to a satisfying conclusion. Although there may be surprises along the way, they’re in line with the story and add to the development of the plot. It’s always obvious when a show has jumped the shark, with events and characters that are so outlandish they’re only there for shock value and tend to veer the story off course. This typically signals the beginning of the end.
- What is your brand’s storyline, and how are you telling that story?
- Is every customer experience telling the story you want to tell?
- Are you consistent with how and when you’re telling the story?
- Are you making any “jump the shark” moves?
3. Have the right cast of characters. The cast brings a story to life. The actors know how to tell the story, they have great chemistry with other characters on the show, and they form a connection with the audience. They make us want to tune in for countless hours to see how their lives, situations and challenges unfold. We care for these characters, and in some cases, relate to what they’re going through.
- Who plays the lead and supporting roles in your brand story?
- Are they making an emotional connection with your audience that’s in line with your brand story?
4. Realize it’s OK if not everyone is a fan. Even the biggest, most popular shows don’t appeal to everyone. And that’s OK. Everyone tried to get me into watching “Breaking Bad,” probably one of the most binged-upon shows in recent memory. I just couldn’t do it. The first episode just didn’t grab me, but it grabbed millions of others.
I don’t think the show’s producers were too concerned about me not watching. They knew their audience, and knew they were beloved in that space.
- Do you know who your REAL target audience is? (Please don’t say everyone!)
- Is your brand story speaking to that audience?
Think of the brands you love. Chances are you binge on them just like you do with your favorite television series.
The best brands (large and small), like the best shows, keep you coming back for more. They get you hooked, draw you in to be a part of the experience and tell a story that resonates with you.
Be authentic, craft your story and build a brand that’s binge-worthy. Oh, and pass the popcorn while you’re at it.
Lauren Kolbe is a partner at Kolbeco. A version of this article originally appeared on the agency’s blog.