Gamu Nhengu, former X Factor contestant from Zimbabwe has gotten a great deal of attention from various news papers – not only in Zimbabwe, but world-wide and especially in the UK. This all follows her ‘controversial’ elimination from X-factor, a surprise visit from UK Immigration and subsequent mega statement on why she can’t go home…
“I’ve been in the public eye now and people there know I’ve fled [Robert] Mugabe’s regime. They will punish us if we go back. They’re going to know where we are,” Gamu said the other day.
“We’re going to be very unsafe. People have been approaching our family members,”
The ‘cheated’ X Factor contestant is being deported from the UK where Robert Mugabe is waiting to kill her’ story has grabbed the attention of millions of people…and you can bet it’s selling a few newspapers… perfect opportunity to show you what could be the most important business lesson you ever learn…the power of a good story.
So how do you get your business/ product noticed? How do you rise above the advertising noise to become the latest news story or at least the latest news on the street? Let’s have a look at the Gamu Nhengu’s marketing secrets.
1) Be controversial. It wasn’t intentional on Gamu’s part, but most people agree that her elimination from the X Factor by ‘the evil Cheryl Cole’ was very controversial. Controversial makes news. People want to read and talk about it. When a product/ business is able to use this factor in their marketing, it usually gets a lot of attention. This was part of (and still is) the drive for why some companies have used sex to sell in their marketing.
2) Pull on emotional Strings. Now of all the reasons President Robert Mugabe would want to kill someone, singing on X-Factor is probably not one of them – besides that, i just don’t think he considers many little girls a threat to Zanu PF in any way. Still, i’m not the audience that needs to believe Gamu’s story. Hundreds of thousands of Brits are deeply moved by Gamu’s plight. A sweet and innocent little girl whose life is being threatened by an evil African dictator – that moves them…and that’s the secret.
What emotions are you targeting in your marketing? If none, then look forward to a hard road ahead- and don’t expect much word of mouth.
Gamu’s story polarizes people on several fronts (It’s brilliant).
- Their love/ hate for Robert Mugabe the Dictator/ Liberation hero
- Their discontentment with the way immigration laws work in the UK
- The question of whether she was rightly or unfairly eliminated from the X-Factor competition.
So create a good story. All top marketers know that a good brand story is the best vehicle to get your message out there. It’s memorable, it’s bypasses our ordinary logical arguments against, it’s easy to pass on by talking about it.
So whatever you think about sweet little Gamu, watch the effect that she is having on the people, media and even law makers in the UK. The power of a good story (controversial maybe, but especially moving) cannot be under-estimated. Whether Gamu’s is good enough…that we’ll have to wait and see. Is yours?
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