Lessons from a late-night king

Posted by on November 18, 2010

This post is a bylined piece written by MarketWave’s intern, Amanda Gleason. Find her here on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Our amazing intern, Amanda!

He’s back. After a nine-month hiatus, Conan O’Brien returned to late-night television last week to an audience of 4.2 million viewers, leaving both David Letterman and Jay Leno in network TV dust. He’s quirky, has funny hair and readily admits he has no rhythm at all. So what is it that makes this guy so irresistible to so many? Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit Conan (and his wonderful PR team) know a few things about rallying the troops. Here are four lessons the king of comedy has perfected:

  1. Engage. In what has been dubbed one of the most brilliant social media campaigns to date, Conan and his team have made social media strategy an art. Fan headquarters resided at Teamcoco.com with daily blog posts, ticket giveaways and an ability to share content via social media sites. The lesson here? Engage consumers so they feel like they are a part of your organization or cause. Contests, giveaways and message boards are excellent ways to do this.
  2. Be thankful. Following his return to late-night, Conan tweeted this message: “To all my fans: Thank you. You are the reason this happened.” A simple thank you still goes a long way. Taking the time to let customers know how much you appreciate them will not go unnoticed.
  3. Relate.  One of the reasons so many people love Conan is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s usually the first one to make fun of himself, and that makes him a relatable figure to his audience. Sometimes in business we lose the human element. It’s important that we remember to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and determine how to best relate to them.
  4. Stand for something. People were quick to rally around Conan after he was booted from The Tonight Show. Even people who didn’t like his show jumped to his defense. The reason? People love supporting noble causes, things they believe in or the underdog. While your company probably won’t get the same attention this late-night debacle did, it’s possible to have company values and a mission that people respect and want to stand behind.

What lessons have you learned from the late-night host?

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  1. Excellent post! I’m definitely glad that Conan’s back and he does have a great team behind him. Relating is something I find missing in so many interactions in this field…Sometimes it feels as though people are just pushing and selling all the time, searching for an angle… We forgot to relate.

  2. I totally agree Lizzie. It seems like if we step back and really try to figure out what our audience wants, we’d be much more effective. It takes time to really get to know your audience or customers, but it’s time well spent.

    Thanks for checking out the blog!

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