American Idol, Tommy Hilfiger & Style- Was there a common reality?
Just recently on American Idol, we saw a new twist. It seems that not only are the producers looking for talented singers, but now they have smartly turned their energies towards finding someone who also looks and fits the part of the singer they are cultivating. Makes total sense to me- if you are trying to brand yourself as a country music singer, then you need to look the part so that your fan base sees your visual brand/appearance fit into their overall reality of the singer.
What American Idol did wrong, in my opinion, was to get Tommy Hilfiger to be the stylist/style guide for the contestants. The entire point of giving any advice or being a consultant and running your own business is the following: You have to understand: 1) your reality of what you do for a living/what you provide your clients and 2) your clients’/prospects’ reality and what they need from you.
So for example, a dentist’s reality is that he needs to take care of our oral hygiene and save our lives. My reality as a potential patient is that I am afraid of pain/needles and fearful of going to see a dentist. So a dentist has to overcome my negative reality somehow and get me to see his/her reality as a dentist before I will go get treatment for my teeth.
So American Idol producers should have asked themselves if Tommy Hilfiger was right for the job. Does Tommy Hilfiger have a common reality with any of the American Idol contestants he is giving visual branding/styling advice to?
Tommy Hilfiger has been in the negative press ever since last year when his company was found to have unsafe/sweatshop working conditions in Bangledesh, where many workers died making his garments. What was worse was that he promised to make changes and ABC News discovered that no changes had been made one year later. So perhaps Hilfiger doesn’t have a common reality with any of us about style or running an ethical business?
If you watched Hilfiger’s interactions with the American Idol contestants, you would have seen the obvious. Most contestants stared at him dumbly, wondering what the “older guy with the blazer” was doing telling them to cut their hair or clean up. In fact, many contestants just flat out ignored his advice- as said so- making American Idol and Hilfiger have poor personal brands.
Of course it didn’t help matters when American Idol producers paired Hilfiger’s advice with that of the “American Idol stylist”. The stylist was a very quiet woman who probably said two words the entire time and looked and acted with absolutely lack of any credibility or connection value to the contestants.
What would have worked better is if American Idol producers had not reached for their buddy, Hilfiger, and their local style gal. But instead they should have stopped and though who would have a common reality and connection with the contestants. Who could give credible advice about attire and posture and stance and gaze and all things personal branding. Perhaps someone younger who could communicate better and be more of a strategic alliance.
What does this mean for you? Figure out what your reality is as a service/product provider. Then learn what your clients’/prospects’ reality is and work to bridge the reality gap and share realities in order to be credible and give sage advice and get business.