When I say ‘Honey’, you say ‘G’… ‘Honey!’… No? OK, Honey G isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but she has certainly managed to capture the hearts and minds of the nation. After placing in the bottom two for the first time during her stint in the competition last weekend, there are some important learnings we can take from what we’ve coined, ‘the Honey G effect’, particularly when it comes to marketing.
The X Factor is a behemoth of Saturday night television and the 13th series of the nationwide talent search is well underway. We’re sailing into week eight of the X Factor’s live shows and there’s one particular contestant who has stolen the limelight this year: Honey G. The self-styled rapper from ‘North Weezy’, that’s Harrow in North West London to you and me, caught the judge’s attention early on in the competition with her rendition of ‘Work It’ by Missy Elliot and has barely looked back since. Amassing an almost cult-like following, Honey G even became the only X Factor contestant to get her own Snapchat filter. That’s big.
What is it about Honey G?
The X Factor first hit our screens in 2004 and Simon Cowell’s brainchild has aired every summer since. That’s a lot of fame chasers and ‘one million percent yeses’. Reaching an average of 14 million viewers at its peak, audiences across the country have seen countless hopefuls hit our screens in a bid to claim the crown. With that many contestants, audiences have heard it all and the challenge of delivering originality is harder than ever.
Enter Honey G. Trademark cap and glasses, tracksuits and bling, Anna Georgette Gilford as is her real name certainly doesn’t fit the mould of a traditional contestant. She can’t sing, her ability to rap is questionable and yet…people love her. Let’s look at the bigger picture…2016 has been the year of the underdog. The global political landscape has been shaken by two shock votes that need no explanation: Brexit and Trump. Irrespective of your political stance, Europe and America were left stunned by the outcome. Nationalist and protectionist arguments contradicted a traditionally global political message; the impact of which still very much remains to be seen. What stood out in each of these campaigns? Mass audiences challenged the status quo and voted for change.
The decision to vote for Honey G has decidedly less impact on wider society, granted, but it’s reflective of a similar attitude among the masses. Honey G is popular because she just doesn’t do what everybody else does.
How you can harness the Honey G effect
Let’s pause for a moment. You’re probably wondering what this possibly has to do with your business and how somebody like Honey G can inform your marketing strategy. There’s more than you might think.
The business landscape is a crowded one. At the start of 2016 there were a staggering 5.5 million private sector businesses, 99.3% of them made up by SMEs. That’s a lot of competition, whatever the industry. Try looking at it differently. Think about your competitors like fellow X Factor contestants and your prospective customers as your audience. With so many other businesses out there, the chances are that your audience has seen it all before. Winning votes, securing business, is harder than ever.
You have a choice. You can either do what everybody else does and follow the same humdrum path as the other companies before you, or you can harness your inner Honey G and find your unique selling point. Then you need to really hone in on it.
The challenge with marketing your business is that no matter what you do, you can’t please everybody. Try too hard to be all things to all people and you’ll quickly find yourself in the sea of mediocre marketers who don’t truly understand their audience. Honey G is the perfect example of mixed opinion. Though popular, she’s been marred with her fair share of negative publicity too. Amid a barrage of claims that Honey G is an actor played by Anna Georgette Gilford and accusations of vote fixing, the path for Honey G hasn’t been a rosy one. What’s important is that she always sticks to her core values.
In amongst the negative press, Honey G never loses her sense of identity. Her unique style, both in terms of fashion and musical delivery are what make Honey G, well, Honey G. Love her or hate her, you know about her. In business, the challenge is exactly the same. So long as you understand your core market, what their pain points are and how you can solve them, your business’ path will be a clear one.
As management theorist Simon Sinek says, ‘There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: You can manipulate it or you can inspire it’. Don’t be afraid to be different. Only by innovating and challenging the status quo will you be able to inspire action from your prospective customers.