Love Island

Love Island fever has gripped the nation for the fourth year running, but what’s the secret to its success? The reality show featuring tanned, toned contestants fighting, friend-zoning and falling in love, broke ITV2 records this year as the first episode clocked up an astounding three million viewers.

But while some attribute its popularity to its attractive line-up of guys and gals, the vicarious thrill of reality TV or the frivolous nature of the show, a Love Island alumni spoke up this week to insist its success is down to something more – an insight into real human connection. Something that content marketers could take a lesson or two from…

Human connection – an irresistible hook

The future may be digital, but the fundamental foundations of marketing will always come down to human connection – that elusive emotional relationship that inspires trust amongst consumers. Nearly a third of advertisers report gains from emotional campaigns, according to Social Media Today, so ensuring your brand doesn’t just come across like it’s a bunch of robots working in a warehouse needs to be a top priority. Inauthentic digital relationships just won’t cut it for today’s consumers – they want human interaction, the more meaningful the better.

The Love Island gang may come across as robots on first impressions – the guys a blueprint of tattooed, male bravado and the girls an identikit mix of blondes and brunettes with glossy locks, perfect bodies and glowing white teeth – but as they let the façade slip and reveal their inner turmoil, thoughts and desires on camera, a compelling study in human nature unfurls. The audience can’t help but relate to their romantic trials and tribulations as well as the resulting bonding and bickering between the housemates.

In short, the audience is emotionally invested in the characters – and that’s what gives Love Island its irresistible hook.

Camilla Thurlow, the wildcard bomb disposal expert they dropped into the mix of glamour models and dancers last year, made an astute observation in her column for Grazia magazine: “In a world where we so rarely get to see past the picture-perfect Instagram image, suddenly you are getting a real insight into the people behind them. And I truly believe it is these characters we fall in love with, or – on occasion – love to hate…

“At its heart, Love Island is so much more than beautiful young people flirting with each other – it’s about real human connection.”

Why not take a leaf from the Love Island library and focus your efforts on humanising your brand?

How to humanise your business

The good news is that you don’t need to blow the budget to humanise your brand. Here are a few simple and actionable ways to get started:

  1. Showcase your humans

There’s nobody better placed to show off the human side of your business than those who work within your organisation. Give your company bios some character with a little insight into the people behind your business, and bring them to the fore with your content, whether that’s via video or company blogs. First-person posts from your employees and messages straight from the CEO can help connect with your audience and build that all-important trust. And if Stephen from IT has something important to say but couldn’t write a suitably engaging sentence if his life depended on it, bring in a good writer to show him in his best light. It’s important to remember, however, creating a company culture worth shouting about doesn’t happen overnight. Make it a priority to put your employees first and ensure they are happy – social won’t transform your culture, it will simply reveal it.

  1. Don’t be too vanilla

We all know the importance of developing a strong and consistent brand personality – one which your audience relates to and can engage with. There is an argument to be had, however, that there are one too many brands at the moment that have turned my social feed into a smorgasbord of sycophantic niceties. In other words, perhaps you should give your brand persona a bit of edge in order to stand out. A great way to do this is to inject some humour into your content – don’t be afraid to take some risks as long as the underlying message is a positive one. Self-deprecation and tongue-in-cheek humour can work well for most brands; add a few references to popular culture or current events to increase engagement even more.

  1. React in the moment

While there’s certainly a place for social media scheduling tools to take the pressure off and allow you to line up content to publish consistently, too much automation runs the risk of your brand looking a little, well, automated. Yes, you won’t have to worry about dead air in your feed, but at the same time, perfectly polished content simply isn’t human. Schedule some time to react to events and conversations in the moment. I guarantee your audience will notice the difference.

Stop thinking like a corporation and start thinking like a human. If you can form an emotional connection with your audience that comes anywhere close to how the nation feels about Love Island, you’ll be #winning.