Fans of the popular and ground-breaking TV show Sex and the City suffered a blow this week when the rumour of an ongoing feud between two of the leading ladies revealed itself to be oh-so painfully true as Kim Cattrall publicly denounced Sarah Jessica Parker as ‘cruel’ on Instagram.
While the success of the series that followed four women through the highs and lows of their love lives in New York City was based on the relatable and unshakeable friendship between the leads, it appears it was all smoke and mirrors. But it got me thinking about the importance of relatable content to really form a connection with your audience – Sex and the City definitely nailed that.
The powerful effects of relatable content
Providing your audience with relatable, relevant content is a guaranteed way to build relationships quickly and effectively. The creators of Sex and the City had this down to a tee, creating a hugely popular show that ran over six seasons and two movies – all through the power of relatability.
The main character Carrie, played by SJP, was such a hit because she was a ‘real’ woman that other women could identify with – one who was funny, smart and pretty (but not intimidatingly so), had great friends and had experienced heartache.
Additionally, the personalities of the other three women in her friendship circle managed to somehow encapsulate the whole spectrum of personality types. From the humanistic artisan to the sceptic, from the traditional conservative to the confident hedonist, the four leading ladies presented a range of relatable voices and personalities that the mostly female audience could see some part of in themselves.
But it wasn’t just a question of creating aspirational characters living their best lives, wearing great clothes and enjoying free run of New York City, the secret of their relatability was rooted in their imperfectness. It was rooted in the opening sequence when Carrie’s designer outfit gets splashed by the bus, and in every mistake and mishap the characters experienced.
So, what can we, as marketers, take from this?
Perhaps that by using your content to connect with an audience on their level in a relatable, authentic and engaging manner, you have a greater chance of being successful than the brand that places itself on a pedestal and strives to be too perfect.
When it comes to content marketing campaigns, it’s all too easy for brands to fall into the trap of focusing on the technicalities of what makes ‘good’ content – i.e. using SEO optimised language or a mix of long- and short-form pieces – and forget to add a dash of relatable personality. The result? They might be technically on point, but they come off as stiff and un-engaging.
Maybe it’s time to take a leaf from the Sex and the City playbook and spice up your efforts a little this year…
Does being relatable really matter?
There are a few very good reasons why you should take the time and make the effort to ensure your content is relatable:
Consumers distrust corporate brands. Almost 70% of consumers don’t trust advertising and 42% distrust brands, seeing them as part of the establishment and therefore ‘remote, unreachable, abstract and self-serving’, according to a study by Trinity Mirror,.
‘Real people in real situations’ produces an emotional response. Social realism is a trend that hits the mark with consumers. Marketing Week reported on this back in 2016, conducting a study which revealed that the emotional response of consumers to real people in real situations engaged consumers more than flashy, big-budget and celebrity studded ads. Emotional responses lead to a greater affinity with a brand and content that sticks in the mind.
Personality stands out from the crowd. Let’s face it, impersonal content is boring. There’s a lot of noise out there – it takes a relatable personality that people can connect with to cut through. If your brand voice sounds like one consumers can see in themselves, their friends or their trusted advisors, you could be on to a winner – remember that oft-cited Nielsen report that revealed 83% of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family? Something to think about when finding your voice…
If you need assistance with this, then why not find out what we can offer you at M2 Bespoke?