I have never fully understood the Simon Cowell phenomenon and in the past had put his success down to his unquestionable ability to reinvent old TV formats in a engaging and relevant way for a 21st century audience. Doing this is no mean feat and clearly it takes more than some beautiful people, razor sharp put-downs and fancy lighting to explain why his TV and music properties have been the industries biggest successes over the past 10 – 15 years.
This said, over the Easter weekend while being exposed to one of his acts on daytime TV, it dawned on me as to why he has been so successful and why so many businesses and brands could learn from 3 simple principles which he clearly understands and exploits.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Scale – The church used to excel at this and when they did they had the public eating out of their proverbial hands. Simon is clearly the new Pope Gregory the Great and he knows the power of super sizing everything so that whatever he touches appears bigger and grander than ever before. Size gives the illusion of power and stature and by making his properties larger than life he gives them a position of awe and great strength.
2. Control – Just like the late Steve Jobs, Simon understands what it takes to get things done the way he wants and is clearly calling all the shots around the properties he cares about and which will bring him the most success. Like any great impresario, Simon has complete control over his products and as soon as they aren’t working he finds a way to adapt and reinvent… and if that fails, he’s not concerned about killing them off -normally turning it into part of the narrative.
3. Strategy – For most of us it is hard to join the dots unless it is backwards but in some cases, just like a great chess grand master, Simon can see a number of moves ahead and he can place all the chess pieces just in the right place at the right time. The beauty of seeing multiple strategies ahead of time is that the majority of your competitors cannot. Moving away from the chess analogy each piece of the jigsaw is understood and put in place to best effect.
So, by harnessing all or some of these elements its possible to see how your business or brand could benefit. Its not an approach for the faint hearted… but the results will speak for themselves.
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