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4 marketing lessons from Netflix love story ONE DAY

If you're not hooked on the new Netflix adaptation of the David Nicholls book from 2009 and movie from 2011, then get to it - it's warm, familiar, heart-breaking and healing all at once.


And, there are loads of hidden marketing messages throughout that you will love just as much as you love the relationship between Emma and Dexter when it's not drowning in straight vodka.



Emma and Dexter in Netflix series One Day

Marketing lessons from One Day


1. Consistency is key

Throughout the story of One Day, lead character Emma, and long -term friend/love of Dexter, is consistently working towards her dream of being a writer and a published author. Her focus and dedication sees her support her move to London by working in a restaurant, which despite the fact that she despises it, funds her through university and sees her graduate with a first class honours degree. As the story progresses so does her success. Her ambitions have purpose, direction, a mission and a very clear vision.


Meanwhile, Dexter thinks he's on track to the big-time and had professed years earlier during university that he was aiming for two very clear goals - to be rich, and to be famous.

But he quickly started to struggle with the dizzy heights of fame and fortune and that consistent focus disappeared. The distraction of drugs, alcohol, parties and women meant he took his eye off the prize - and his vision was distorted, his mission confused - and his goals, well he felt he'd reached them so he stopped working and started having too much fun.


Your marketing strategy doesn't have an end goal, it has evolving goals that you keep building foundations for, so that you can carry bigger more challenging goals on top.


Your vision probably won't make any sudden about turns, unless extreme market forces dictate that it has to, but you will keep building on those ambitions like Emma - working from a teacher, to writing plays, to novels.


There are always quick wins to be had in marketing, like the invite to the film premiere or the fancy dinner. And those are great, if you have strong enough brand foundations to carry them - and a strong enough will to pass on that 5th drink and head home to bed.


2. Take an agile approach

When Emma's first play didn't take off despite her school performance success, she adapted her writing skills and turned her attention to the outline of a novel. Rather than writing seven more plays and hoping for the best, she looked at what was and wasn't working and focused her strengths in a new area.

Whether the skill set in your business demands a pivot, or market forces make it a necessity, you've got to be able to adapt your vision and mission towards the most popular and profitable routes for your product or service.


Dexter struggled here - he became a talented TV presenter relatively quickly and the lifestyle overtook everything else. When he realised he was in trouble, he was paralysed - he didn't know where to go, especially when Emma wasn't there at the end of the phone to pick him up from the depths of despair.


This isn't a case of finding the easiest alternative route forwards and taking it. Being agile also involves the need to carefully and quickly analyse the available options - each with varying risks and costs attached. Being truly agile when it comes to your brand and your business is about always being ready to evolve and grow.


3. Authenticity creates loyalty

In the Netflix adaptation of One Day, we fall in love with Emma and Dexter from the start. Their characters represent so many of us and their personalities have complexities, flaws and more favourable traits that make them relevant and relatable.


And, it's never been more important for a brand to show authenticity throughout everything it does and says. That covers every aspect of the business. This can be how you respond to reviews - accepting fault, or being honest and sincere even with the trickiest of customers. Or taking people behind the scenes on your social feeds, rather than just showing off the glossy end result.


Customers want to know what makes your brand tick - what happens to make your product or service, and how the personality of the brand is reflected in your people. Even when you have faults, be yourself and put it all on show.


4. Use storytelling

One Day is a coming of age story, following two students into adulthood. It takes you on a journey and you become quickly invested in that journey - the highs and lows, discovery, unexpected moments of both pleasure and pain.


Successful brands do exactly the same - and that's how you build a community and loyalty around your business. Bring people in on the narrative and make it a two way conversation.

One of my favourite techniques to get brands to focus on what matters in their content strategy is 'situational relevance'. This means that you need to look at your storytelling through the lens of how a situation is relevant to you and your audience - if you have one and not the other, it doesn't create engagement. So tell your story in a way that the values and underlying messages are entirely relevant to your customer and that the situation you present them in brings them to life.


What other marketing lessons did you take from One Day?




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