9 Marketing Lessons you can learn from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
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F.R.I.E.N.D.S. – We’ve all seen it, we all remember it and we all love it. Ever since the show graced our T.V. screens, over 25 years ago, it has captured the hearts and minds of generations. Possibly the best T.V. show of all time, the classic comedy never fails to hit the mark.
Quoting its theme song, the show has always been there for us, providing us with vital information about everything from the grim reality of dead-end jobs, the horrors of dating to the essentials of marketing.
Yes, you read it right, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. – with its continued relevance and its legendary status in the television industry is a rich reservoir of marketing lessons that might change the way you work forever.
Let’s take a look at 9 marketing lessons that we can draw from the Emmy winning television series’ unparalleled success.
1. Know Thy Customer
In the crowded world of social media today, it is important to create content that is relatable. Focusing on your target audience’s pain points shall ensure that your own life as a marketer is relatively painless. It is vital that you think like your audience and understand their needs. One of the keys to the immense popularity of the show was its extremely real characters. Be it Joey, Monica or Rachel, the cast is human and flawed – in essence, relatable. Instead of a perfect, “holier than thou” cast, we are presented with characters who are constantly striving to prove how “They were on a break”! Remember, it’s important to sell to people, not demographics. Appealing to emotions and creating content that connects is what it’s all about.
2. Consistency Across Channels
Human beings are emotional creatures. This applies to everything that they do – including purchasing. Being consistent in your promotion efforts shall help to create a dependable experience that your customers can rely on. The more comfortable they grow with your brand, the more likely their chances from purchasing from you again. It is no coincidence that every single of one of the 236 episodes of FRIENDS was titled “The One (with/where)” Ask yourself, how many episode titles of the Big Bang Theory or Suits do you remember? Probably none. But when you consider FRIENDS, the answer would undoubtedly be many. Combine consistency with easy nomenclature and voila, the result is an unforgettable brand image!
3. Know What Sells, Market It
Did you know that after the creators realized that Janice’s “Oh My God” was popular with the audience, they ensured that it was used in every episode featuring the character? Or that the iconic duo of Monica and Chandler was just a fling that was turned into a serious couple based on the audience reaction? The name of the show itself was decided after a round of A/B Testing! The creators of FRIENDS were clearly aware of the basic idea behind marketing – to understand what appeals to your audience and to use it to your advantage.
How do you achieve this for yourself, you ask? Through constantly analyzing your marketing efforts we say! It is hard to understate the importance of analyzing the performance of your content when it comes to marketing. Here’s a link that shall tell you all you need to know about evolving with the changing trends.
4. Do Not be Afraid of Standing Out
One of the most important marketing lessons you can derive from FRIENDS is to not be afraid of taking risks! If you think about it, Joey was a struggling actor, Chandler a man who switched careers in his 30s, and Rachel a woman who completely redefined herself in terms of both her career and life. As a marketer, do not feel shy of thinking outside the box and taking risks. In a saturated content market, it is great to be different and unique. Phoebe just wouldn’t be the same if she wasn’t her wonderful, weird self now, would she?
5. Stand for Something
No one could have put it better than Steve Jobs: “Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”
As a brand, it is important that you have something to say. FRIENDS reached iconic status because it was more than just a sitcom for its audience, the creators focused on building a community instead. From advocating female solidarity to promoting surrogacy, the show constantly proved that it had a unique voice and message to deliver. A lesson that you as a marketer could definitely benefit from!
6. Connect with Influencers
Think about the last product you purchased. Chances are it was recommended to you by a friend, a trustworthy media outlet or a credible brand.
Before making a decision, every customer desires proof or assurance of quality. A recommendation from a personality they trust/admire might just be the nudge they need to choose your services! An effective way to improve the reach and credibility of your content is by cashing in on the audience and authority granted to you by big names. For example, what is truly impressive about FRIENDS is just how many cameos the creators managed to pack into its ten seasons. From popular celebrities like Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis to future notables like Cole Sprouse, the creators made sure to use the power of influencers to create a buzz for the show.
7. Create Mysteries
Who here hasn’t wondered whether or not Rachel and Ross would finally end up together? While the creators themselves knew that the duo would end up together early on, they kept the audience agonizing over it for 10 long years! Why? Because Mystery Sells. The very identity of the infamous Ugly Naked Guy wasn’t revealed for as long as 2016! Most marketers would rush out to tell everyone as much as they can about their product. The creators of FRIENDS did the opposite – they held back information to get people excited. Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it shall definitely boost your marketing!
8. Be Adaptable
Take it from Einstein, “Adaptability is the key to Prosperity.” Your company does not fail because of changes in the dynamic environment of the internet world but when you fail to adapt to these changes. In fact, adaptability is what keeps you relevant, valuable and at the competitive forefront. Take FRIENDS’ special Thanksgiving episodes for example. The creators made sure to use upcoming festivals as opportunities to stay relevant and relatable. Be it an upcoming sports event or a movie release – you too can use these to create relevant content. For example, Outgrow consistently creates quiz and calculator templates that make use of any and all upcoming opportunities.
9. Virality/Popularity isn’t Achieved Overnight
Even though FRIENDS is considered to be a bedrock of 90’s and early 2000’s pop culture today, its initial reviews were far from fantastic. And while you might be on a quest to make your content go viral, the reality is that “going viral” requires months of strategic planning, PR work and prep. What we’re trying to say is that it is important to remember that nothing can be achieved overnight. What is important though is to complete your groundwork, monitor the perception of your brand and keep at it!
To sum it up, inspiration can be found anywhere. Your favorite T.V. show – especially an iconic one like F.R.I.E.N.D.S. – can provide you with vital marketing lessons that can change the way you look at the mundane world of marketing!
Anoushka Chopra is a marketing executive at Outgrow. When not reading, she can be found traveling, enjoying puns, or spending way too much time in front of the laptop.