Did you enjoy the Eurovision this year? I did, and not just because the UK went from zeros to heroes in 12 months.
Obviously I’m disappointed that the San Marino entry didn’t make it out of the semi-final, and that my favourite, from the Czech Republic (they met as students at Leeds College of Music), only scored five points.
But looking at the UK’s performance I realised that there are some broader lessons for business.
One. Know your market.
Every year, the BBC chose a song that played well on Radio 2. No other country has a Radio 2 (although this year’s entry from Germany might suggest otherwise) which is why we tended to do not so well (ahem). This year’s entry had a wider, inter-generational and pan-European appeal. Sometimes, the customer is right.
Two. Press the flesh.
It doesn’t matter how good your product (song) is unless you do some promotion. Get out there, meet people and show them how great you are instead of sitting back and waiting to be discovered. Do a bit of stakeholder engagement and market testing, and get yourself noticed. Generate some ‘buzz’. We know it worked because even the French gave us douze points. Incroyable!
Three. Grow the market.
Yes, it’s a competition, and yes, you want to win. But you won’t be allowed a monopoly in most circumstances, so why not team up with your competitors once in a while and do some lobbying for the benefit of everyone? In Sam Ryder’s case he did a duet of part of his song with Cornelia Jakobs, who sang Sweden’s entry, then uploaded the video to his socials. He came second, she came fourth. It reflected well on them both and enhanced the reputation of Eurovision (the market).
Four. Don’t forget your existing customers.
Sam still has over 13 million TikTok followers because he didn’t abandon them for Eurovision but took them on the journey with him. He kept his fanbase and made new fans as well, not dropping the old ones for the new.
Five. “Events dear boy, events.”
Sometimes it just doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, a bigger event can send the best of plans into a tailspin. Once Ukraine was confirmed as entering and Russia banned it was always going to be a question of who would come second in the competition. The point is, we did come second (and won the jury vote). You don’t degrade your product and you maintain your integrity.
I could also add a sixth point: What’s your carbon footprint?
The world as a whole has made great strides in greening the economy but there’s always more to be done. Are you a net carbon contributor or is your product carbon-neutral? I shudder think of the electricity bill for Eurovision. Unless they managed to offset it by using renewable energy, of course…