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What Can We Learn From NBC’s The Voice?

March 10, 2016

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments 0 »

In a world where talent shows are a dime a dozen, there’s one stand-out: NBC’s The Voice. Last week, the show’s Season 10 premiere drew 13.24 million viewers, winning the night with more than 5 million more viewers than ABC’s The Bachelor, which aired during the same time slot. So, what are the keys to the show’s staggering success, and how can we equivalate them in PR terms?

Content is King.

As PR professionals, we live by the mantra “content is king,” a saying whose truth cannot be overstated. The Voice has made some careful and intentional choices when it comes to content in order to produce a high-quality show that will make viewers want to return week after week. First of all, the show holds “blind” auditions. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of the show, the judges sit with their backs to the stage in order to eliminate any bias based on gender, race, age, appearance, or any factor that might distract from a contestant’s talent. Another content choice is the decision to pre-screen all contestants beforehand to ensure that only truly talented individuals audition in front of the celebrity judges. This approach differs from other talent shows (cough Idol cough) that profit from subjecting sub-par talent to embarrassment at the hands of merciless judges. The Voice rises above this “click-bait” type of content and in doing so, cultivates a spirit of profound sincerity. Ultimately, your content is a reflection of your brand, so follow The Voice’s lead and deliver content that is high-quality, intentional and worthy.


The Voice also understands the importance of timeliness, especially in conjunction with social media. During the blind auditions, the celebrity judges post “live” tweets from their personal accounts in response to the auditions. This tactic is especially interesting (and brilliant) when you consider the fact that the auditions are pre-recorded, so the tweets are not truly “live.” The tweets are crafted perfectly to capture each judge’s unique voice and are scheduled just right so that they post intermittently as the show airs, giving the illusion that the show is happening in real-time and the judges are experiencing it alongside the viewers. See this tweet from Xtina in response to landing an artist, or this tweet from Adam showcasing his (well-crafted) bromance with Blake. We know the tweets aren’t truly live––the show is pre-recorded, after all! But they still feel so relevant. Brands should take note: always be timely and opportunistic on social media! Followers love to see a brand that is in-tune with cultural happenings.

Relationships are Everything.

The foundation of The Voice is relationships. The judges’ witty banter among themselves and their interactions with the contestants make the viewers feel privy to a network of intimate friends. By mid-season, each team even starts to feel like its own family unit. Seeing celebrities and television stars interact this way reminds us that (gasp!) they’re just like us! The Voice also brings contestants back from past seasons, and the judges always seem to genuinely remember them. Whether they’re tipped off or not, it’s a nice touch to suggest that a celebrity like Adam Levine would remember your 90-second performance from 3 years ago. They really do care! Brands should channel this type of engagement with customers and followers in order to build lasting relationships.

Surprise & Delight: Create Wow Moments.

This season, the show has really upped the ante in terms of wow moments. The judges have pulled out all the stops to move, melt and shock the contestants and viewers. It began with a tame, unexpected gesture of support as Pharrell ran on stage and hugged a young hopeful (aww!). Then, Adam Levine stepped it up and fulfilled everyone’s 2002 fantasy by singing an impromptu duet of “She Will Be Loved” with a kindred spirit (swoon!). Later, things got shockingly heated when Christina Aguilera kissed a contestant (whaaaaat?!). If Week 1 is indicative of the rest of Season 10, we’re in for a wild ride. These moments do more than surprise and delight us as viewers; they serve as fodder for social media buzz, articles, word-of-mouth sharing and more––all of which help to build the brand and maintain its relevance.

Never Underestimate the Value of Storytelling.

In PR, we’re in the business of storytelling. Like PR professionals, the Voice has learned to capitalize on a good story, knowing that people truly connect with the show through hearing the contestants’ backgrounds. We, as viewers, can relate to the angst of a small town teen, the grief of a recent widow, the hope of a hungry artist. The show does a great job highlighting the most compelling stories, and if you only cry once an episode, you’re doing better than me. At the end of the day, The Voice understands that the human experience is a shared one, and people like to get behind people. So, what’s your brand’s story?

Anyone who watches The Voice knows that its two night per week schedule is a huge commitment, but now we don’t have to feel guilty about those mind-numbing hours of TV time because they are professionally enriching 😉 Feel free to weigh in: what’s your favorite show, and how can we as PR professionals learn from its success?

This is a guest post by Molly White who is currently apprenticing at See.Spark.Go.


Since 2009, our team has had the incredible privilege of uncovering and celebrating some of the country’s most inspiring stories through Mutual of Omaha’s Aha Moment Tour. Collectively, the tour has captured almost 6,000 moments in six years from people in cities all across the United States. More than 50 national television commercials have been produced and aired since the campaign’s inception.

Last week, Mutual of Omaha, proud sponsor of life’s aha momentsSM, announced the top 10 aha moments from individuals who participated in the Aha Moment Tour this summer. From these 10 aha moments, one will become a national television commercial for Mutual of Omaha.

The favorite aha moment will be selected through a combination of Mutual of Omaha’s panel of judges and an online vote at Voting began Oct. 5, and will end on Oct. 16. The chosen commercial will be announced on Oct. 20 and it will be included in Mutual of Omaha’s broadcast advertising campaign.

“Life changes are all about possibilities,” said Andrew Rouillard, Vice President of Brand Management and Advertising at Mutual of Omaha. “We heard stories from a variety of spheres of influence this year and could not be more pleased to share these moments with the world. Anything is possible when you pursue your dreams and take steps towards a more fulfilling life.”

The top 10 aha moments that you can now vote for are as follows. We wish they could all become the final moment!

Phoenix, Ariz.: Carrie
Carrie’s aha moment connected her passion with her purpose and she now leads an after-school organization empowering young girls across the country to be friends, leaders and Supergirls.

Jackson, Miss.: Kristy
Kristy works with individuals ages 17-22 to help them transition into adulthood. One of Kristy’s favorite stories is helping a young woman leave a situation of domestic violence. This victory led to the moment she realized she has the power to make a difference.

Birmingham, Ala.: Missy
Missy’s aha moment happened when she encountered an adult at the Literacy Council whose life was changed by learning to read. Now, she works to inspire others every day.

Chattanooga, Tenn.: Melissa
In providing fresh produce to needy senior citizens at a local food bank, Melissa has seen that hunger is a severe problem in the United States, and is inspired to do something about it.

Savannah, Ga.: Iris
Iris is the founder of a nonprofit organization called Girls on the Run, a character building after school program that empowers girls through fitness. Fitness and athletics changed Iris’ life, and she now encourages girls to do things they never believed they could. She even completed an Ironman!

Lynchburg, Va.: Bubba
Now 28 years old, Bubba has lost 294 pounds and is in the best shape of his life. His new life and mobility provide him with opportunities to have adventures every day, and Bubba now encourages others to make healthy life choices.

Harrisburg, Pa.: Lance
After losing his daughter, Lance was inspired to honor her memory. This led to the founding of the Purple Feet Foundation, which connects kids with adults who can help them explore the possibilities their futures hold.

Des Moines, Iowa: Donna
Donna was inspired to make an unlikely friend in honor of her friend’s passing away. In befriending someone who she never thought she would, Donna has learned that finding common ground with another individual affords productive dialogue about painful and emotional topics.

Portland, Ore.: Alex
After losing his father, Alex realized life is short. He left his corporate job at an investment firm, moved to Ecuador, met his wife, started an organic farm and now works for a nonprofit organization focused on conservation.

Santa Cruz, Calif.: Apollo
From being a homeless teenager and rising up to be a successful author, music artist, and reality show star, Apollo is now passionate about helping young people get through difficult situations by facilitating social and emotional learning workshops all over the country.

The 10 individuals featured in the vote are encouraged to strategically share his or her video using social networking sites and prompt others to vote for them.

The 2015 tour began on May 4 in Irvine, Calif., and journeyed to 20 cities across the country before wrapping in Santa Cruz, California, on Aug. 7. At every stop, people lined up to share their personal aha moments in a 34’ Airstream trailer custom designed as a mobile television studio. Nearly 1,000 aha moments were recorded along this year’s Tour. All of the interviews can be viewed at

Don’t forget to click here to view their stories and cast your vote! Who would you like to see on TV?



Why You Need Public Relations

June 8, 2015

posted by: hannahkersh | Comments 0 »

The benefits of a public relations strategy coupled with a devoted team to execute said strategy sometimes go unnoticed. Maybe it is a lack of knowledge about what public relations actually is within the general public or perhaps it is just that the benefits are not always tangible.

Regardless, it is highly argued that public relations is perhaps the most important and most cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience. (See here.)

There are times when an organization is bombarded with sales calls after a story runs or a TV segment airs — a huge public relations win! Often, the benefits go far beyond dollar signs as the ultimate goal is to translate awareness to action in the minds of consumers. We tell great stories about great companies because we believe that stories heard are hearts and minds activated to respond.

Whether your audience is consumers of technology, potential donors to a summer camp for families battling childhood cancer, parents of children in elementary school, or anyone with an aha moment, your story deserves to be told in a compelling way. Here are three ways an effective public relations strategy and team can benefit you:

1. Public relations is proactive.

A strong PR team ensures quality and consistent communications of who you are and what you do. We help you tell your story to the right media at the right time. Proactive media outreach is critical to getting in front of trends, conversations and the ever-pumping news cycle each day. What makes you newsworthy? PR helps define that and spreads the word.

2. Your public relations team is your biggest advocate.

As public relations professionals, when we tell your story, our gain is not the end-goal. An effective public relations strategy will always start and end with you, the client, in mind. What are your goals? Where do you see your organization in five years? What is the pulse or heartbeat of your company? We want to see our team become an extension of yours, pursuing vision together through content development, media relations, storytelling and social media.

3. Public relations is comprehensive and creative in connecting with your audience.

When your story is told to the right audience in a way that reflects brand values and connects with people at an emotional level, a response happens. Individuals become invested in your organization because they begin to grasp who you are in the context of what you do. Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

In todays constantly changing and ever integrating media landscape, it takes an expert to craft, share and creatively coordinate effective ways to connect with your target audience. We are always excited to survey your organization, your industry, your competitors and the media and find out those trigger points of connection and meaning. When stories arise, when a new audience needs to be reached or when a big announcement needs to be made, PR is there for you. A team of dedicated, inspired, energetic go-getters like ours? Even better.

How has your organization benefitted from public relations? Or, if you have never implemented a strategy, what would you hope to gain from it?