The Bachelor – How a TV show listens to its community.

Michelle    March 7, 2016

In today’s social media communities it can be noisy, even annoying, to see sponsored and promoted messages, have products clamouring for your attention, and marketing departments from companies of all sizes try their best to stand out in the chaos. But for one ABC television show, they’ve successfully approached social media in a different way. To listen.

The show itself (The Bachelor) is a marketing goldmine. The quest for love, smothered in manipulated drama, to appeal to the hopeless romantics, or provide an endless parade of judge worthy material for the cynics. Its hard to deny the vapid nature of the show itself, but what the show has done with it’s social media offers a lot of lessons for the marketing community.

The Bachelor/ette marketing group recognized the show’s audience tended to watch in groups and wisely embraced the community pillar in it’s marketing plan. They also saw the passion among their fans and turned it into an opportunity. By adapting their language and indulging the criticisms as well as the praise, #BachelorNation thrived. The community flourished because #BachelorNation followed the lead of the audience and played into the negatives and the positives. It appeared more honest and relatable, so the community felt like a community. Tweeting along to the show was encouraged by actually airing tweets along the bottom of the screen.

Then, in a rather bold move, The Bachelor/ette began to let the social media conversations actually drive marketing decisions. Selections of the Bachelor or Bachelorette used to be an internal decision, made by the producers of the show. As the voices of #BachelorNation were indulged more and more, they became influencers in the show itself. When a contestant becomes a ‘fan favourite’ the show becomes flexible with their decisions, modifying them to appease the community they created. It began as a single show and developed a ‘Bachelorette’ spin off. In recent years as the #BachelorNation has been given the opportunity to influence, more shows have spun off. There is the original Bachelor and Bachelorette. But then there was Bachelor Pad, which evolved to Bachelor in Paradise, and even a live talk show styled ‘post’ show. After the airing of the show, the show’s host Chris Harrison leads a discussion about the Bachelor’s ‘journey’ with cast members and celebrity fans. But especially of note is the comments and questions taken from viewers. Once again, the show demonstrates how well they understand their audience by creating addition platforms to engage them. By giving audience members a voice, they are not only engaged, they have an opportunity to truly be part of the experience.

As an integrated part of the shows, the host frequently addresses #BachelorNation with phrases like “You asked”, “You told us…”, “You voted..” “You are unlike any other fans”… the list goes on and on. As a regular part of the show, the host and Bachelor/ette of the season actually visit ‘Bachelor viewing parties’ and highlight it with endless props given to the fans, reminding them over and over how much they ‘love’ them. Giving props to the community, showering them with praise and attention only helps to solidify their loyalty. They are actually addressed directly into the camera, as if it’s a personal conversation with the community and individuals.  As a result, #BachelorNation is only one of the many popular and successful hashtag used by the franchise.

Lessons for Others

As easy as it may be to criticize the superficial and manipulated show of The Bachelor/ette, it is equally easy to see that the way they listened to their audience and embraced the community are lessons that other organizations can learn from. The show demonstrated a flexibility to adjust and modify their products (shows) and marketing habits. They think outside the box, focus on their community and give them lots and lots of attention and praise. The Bachelor/ette doesn’t just make their viewers (customers) feel valued and part of the conversation, they show that they are.

Organization: ABC - The Bachelor
Industry: Television
Name of Organization Contact: Chris Harrison, Television Host

Authored by: Michelle P

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