The UK’s XFactor finished this weekend with an audience of 20 million and over half of this voting on the final two sing contestants with Joe McElderry winning. It was exciting to watch a brand evolve over the last twelve weeks on the TV screens. In an earlier post I wrote about the authenticity that drives attention in the stories of Paul Potts and Jason the Basketball player. Both of these stories were viewed by millions both on screen and online. In the meantime Susan Boyle has done the same thing surprising audiences “Living a dream” across both sides of the Atlantic.

Here is Joe in the auditions.

Bringing his story back to his home town


Using varied visual volume  in the finals here.
Here is the final song that two thirds of the audience voted for here.

Whether you like XFactor or not it’s worth looking at how the show and contestants have built brand awareness using elements of storytelling in the show format to generate a massive base. As you know I would have one fan over ten customers any day. Here is what I think Simon Cowel an Syco TV  have used to create  phenomenal brand in this year’s  XFactor.

  • Authentic narrative
  • Point of view (Multiple points of view, contestants, judges and audience)
  • Varied Visual Volume (Great use of staging and production)
  • Stories made to be retold- Word of Mouth(YouTube shorts for each song and show available minutes after each performance)
  • Tension and conflict (Bottom two in a sing off each week)
  • Audience creates the ending (Audience creates its own winner)
  • Right Bran Left Brain (Emotional pull of success and failure, Logic of voting for best singer and emotion of  relationship built through medium)
  • A journey (picked from 200,000 people you watch ordinary people become stars)

All of these are elements add to brand storytelling success. Of course the subject of the story needs to be both credible and relevant but thats’s not enough. Brands are created by enabling the story with the elements above.

I don’t know if contestants will last long but it seems that those that keep employing these elements may keep the fan base growing long enough to become established acts. I wish them luck. Whatever happens I think this is a great example of real-time branding through storytelling. It lines up all the concepts of brand storytelling discussed in previous posts so well because you can see it develop over a short space of time. Pharma brands can employ this Pharma 3.0 approach to generate real enthusiasm for its brands.