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What brands can learn from Love Island

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Love Island is back. For the rest of the summer in the UK, our screens will be blessed with the sights of sun-kissed sceneries and troublesome twenty-somethings with enviable physiques. While you can accuse the show of being many things, it’s impossible to downplay its success.

Love Island has quickly become the most watched programme in ITV2’s history, and has been incredibly effective in engaging the prized 16-34 demographic. Despite this, many still incorrectly write it off as nothing more than a guilty pleasure. However, there are many lessons for brands to take away. Love Island has been incredibly effective in constructing a brand that resonates with its target demographic, and by echoing some of its best practices, you can help to improve your business.

 

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Gergő Csiszár, CEO and founder at Post for Rent.

 

Understanding your audience

Brands have been falling over themselves to become associated with the Love Island brand due to the way it’s managed to capture the youth demographic. Among the difficult to reach 16-34s, Love Island managed to average a 42% share over its first week of broadcast in 2018. The reason for this is simple – Love Island understands its audience.

The millennials that make up the Love Island viewership are digitally native and will be used to ‘dual screening’ and consuming their content in an on-demand fashion. Understanding this, the Love Island product has been constructed around its audience’s desires.

Not only can Love Island be viewed across mobile, TV and digital, ITV also created an official Love Island app with voting functionality, updates from the Island as well as e-commerce offerings from Love Island’s partners. This allow viewers to feel as if they are a greater part of the programme, building the relationship between the brand and viewer. Learn who your audience is and make sure to deliver your content in a fashion that suits them.

 

A note on partnerships & influence

Last year’s edition of Love Island had 10 official partners. These ranged from beauty brands like Rimmel London, to music entertainment companies such as Ministry of Sound, to Jet2 who acted as travel partners. The natural alignment of the target audiences of these brands along with the Love Island demographic almost guarantees great success and allows them to tap into the strength of Love Island’s audience relationships for themselves.

Then, for the contestants (who exploded in social media popularity during season), there were brands queueing up to work with them once the show ended. But not all brands would be able to harness this new set of influencers. It’s important to recognise the different categories of influencers that exist - the relationship these contestants have with their audience is going to be very different to an influencer who has, for example, been creating niche food-related content for 18 months and built up their following gradually, replying to comments, having their audience suggest future content and building a community around themselves.

Love Island contestants have influence, sure. But do they have trust? If they recommend a visual-driven brand such as a teeth whitening or clothing company, the results are likely to be very positive, as a consumer doesn’t need to ‘trust’ them per se to come to the conclusion that the contestant looks good in said sponsored clothing, therefore the consumer could look good in it too.

Having a contestant promote something that is much more trust-centric like a piece of technology, a new smartphone brand for example, is less likely to perform well. People are highly unlikely to be following that contestant because they trust his or her taste/expertise in consumer electronics.

This principle extends beyond the Love Island contestants to any brand campaign. On Post For Rent when managing brand campaigns, we always advise brands to look at the actual relationship between the influencer and their audience, and to think about if it will support an endorsement of their product from that influencer.

That’s why we put so much emphasis on providing in-depth audience demographics data. The influencer may have great engagement, but that is only half the picture. Not enough brands ask themselves WHY or HOW an influencer has a following and overlooking that piece of the puzzle can often leave you with decent content metrics, but little ROI, or worse. If you’re not using a platform like ours, which will give you credibility scores on an influencer’s audience, you could end up spending with an influencer who is artificially inflating their numbers to tempt you in.

 

Getting digi with it

An important part of connecting with your patrons is understanding where they are, and for millennials, digital is dominant. The most recent data shows that a staggering 92% of 16-34 year olds use the internet to access social media sites on a regular basis – so, to connect with this cohort, a digital strategy is central.

Love Island has a multi-channel social strategy that allows fans to consume extra pieces of content – for Facebook, clips from the show are edited into easily digestible and sharable forms whereas on YouTube, it uses longer-form clips. To make sure viewers don’t experience Love Island saturation, ITV utilises parts of the show which didn’t make the final cut. By matching its strategy to viewer behaviour on each site, ITV ensures maximum reach and interaction.

The Love Island team is also very vocal on social media, engaging in the discourse generated by the programme’s most shocking moments. They distribute teasers and cliff hangers during special moments, along with retweeting and replying in their audience’s language. By using their language, it again demonstrates that they understand their audience, further creating a deeper connection. However, more importantly this creates an immersive and communal experience, bringing together the viewers with the show and giving their audience the confidence to share the content themselves to their peers, boosting the online footprint of the show significantly.

Social media provides a platform for you to directly engage with your intended customers, so use it! Don’t fall into the trap of trying to utilise one strategy for all platforms. Different networks are good for different things, so be sure to utilise a bespoke approach for each one. Engaging in dialogue will help to create goodwill, and this will further ingratiate brands with their customer base.

By taking the time to really understand your audience, brands can build stronger relationships with them, leading to an improved ROI and more loyal customer base. Poor research or outdated/inauthentic ideas will often leave brands falling short and will end up repulsing your target demographic instead. You also need to consider what sort of credibility an influencer will have when promoting your brand. The simple truth is that if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

Gergő Csiszár is CEO and founder at influencer marketing platform Post for Rent.

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