How does your brand rate on the Fotwometer?
A couple of programmes broadcast on UK TV over the last week have been the result of someone inside an organisation’s brand team answering “yes” to the question “Can we do fly on the wall filming with you?” Rolls Royce and high end jeweller Boodles both featured on Channel 4 with the companies clearly having decided that their employees could be trusted to embody their respective values when the cameras were rolling.
The growth in reality TV, ‘behind the scenes’ programming and Undercover Boss/Back to the Floor types of production has led to many comms departments or PR agencies receiving a proposal from TV production companies. These often include a reference to how successful the many series of ‘Airline’ were in building easyJet’s profile, and how a programme would deliver hours of prime time exposure.
Unless your view tends towards ‘all publicity is good publicity’ (we’re looking at you Paddy Power) then this is a question that requires very careful consideration. Clearly it’s naïve to think that any company is going to provide cameras with unfettered access, but however carefully controlled the process, there is still the danger of the accidental remark by an employee, the uncertain outcome of a conversation with a customer, or the possibility of creative editing.
After all, footage of a company seamlessly going about its operations, with employees living up to the external brand promise, will not usually provide the most riveting viewing for those at home. In contrast, conflict, upset customers, and employees who are ‘unique characters’ are all features which will be more appealing to TV schedulers.
The carefully constructed external image – the result of millions of pounds of marketing investment over many years – can swiftly be undone if consumers see what appears to be the reality and decide it clashes with what they have been led to believe.
Whether your company has been approached to take part in such a programme or not, it’s worth asking how your brand would rank on the, ahem, Fotwometer (Fly-on-the-wall-o-meter). In the words of your old maths teacher, could you show your workings? Or are your brand values only a hypothetical construct?
A company’s response to this question will give a true indication of where the focus of their communication should be. And in turn, the answer they should be giving to that eager TV researcher.