Manage your Business like an American Idol CompetitionThere are many popular reality shows on TV but American Idol has consistently ranked on the top of the charts for many years. Besides just the high quality singers, and celebrity judges, Americans are watching because of the desire to see unknown young people become stars. We also enjoy watching it for pure entertainment.

When watching Idol the other night, I started thinking about how I could run my business to get the same level of loyalty, excitement, and involvement that American Idol creates. I realized that running a singing competition and running a business require the same type of organization, marketing, and resources. In making the comparison, the same components are required to be successful. I feel that by looking at your business this way, you may be able to bring another level of excitement to the table that you had not considered before. By looking at the following factors that have made American Idol successful, you can start to see some ways that you can potentially enhance your business practices to build the kind of brand loyalty that makes it so popular:

Singers – these are your employees. They are the sustenance of your business. Without their talent you would have no show. While there is no parallel with Idol in terms of how their singers are eliminated, it is critical to your business success and growth that you eliminate the least talented staff members, and work on keeping the most productive and successful people on your team.

Judges – these are your clients. They are evaluating your performance, and (hopefully) giving you constructive feedback throughout the life of your project or engagement. If they are not then you should be asking them for it. It is critical to ensure that the judges love you and your work. They are the ones that pay the bills and keep coming back for more.

Ryan Seacrest – he is your COO. He is there to keep things moving on schedule, and ties together all of the departments of the business. Without him there would be a lack of organization and communication. He is the interface between your singers and your judges, and ensures that the whole operation runs smoothly.

Songs – these are your marketing messages. It is important that you pick the right ones. When you pick the wrong songs, many things can go wrong. You can lose everything if you are not diligent about selecting the songs that give you the best chance of winning. Your target audience will only vote for you if they like your songs.

American people – this is your audience. You need to know which ones you are targeting, and whether your message will appeal to them. If you win them over, you will win, and if you don’t, you will lose.

Jimmy Iovine – this is your coach. He is only there to help you succeed. I believe every leader and many managers need a successful veteran to help them improve and tackle the tough decisions. Jimmy can be tough on you but he makes you a better singer.

The band – these are all the other resources that you need to run the business. They include accounting, marketing, human resources, legal, etc. They may stay in the background, or the back office, but they are critical to making your singers sound good.

Gaining the loyalty of millions of people and enticing them to vote each week takes creativity, variety, and attention to what they believe is important. Just as American Idol had changed its format recently to try and attract some new viewers, and keep the show interesting, you must continue to reinvent your business to keep it cutting edge. By using new types of technology, bringing in talented people, and continuing to improve internal processes, you can continue to stay ahead of your competition, and make sure your business is not in the bottom three.


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