Lee McQueen and the value of common ground

reverse pterodactylThe best show on TV (copyright – the Guardian) has come to a close and despite his errors (lying on the CV, dodgy impressions), Lee McQueen has become surallun’s apprentice.

I had backed Claire to win, as had many others. But on reflection, Lee was the obvious candidate. Leaving aside accusations that Alan Sugar is not enamoured with strong women (though as Ruth Badger points out, what does that make Margaret Mountford?), what does this tell us?

To my eyes, it shows the value of common ground in relationships. There needs to be some form of mutual identification to make that initial bond, and to allow relationships to progress.

Surallun saw parts of himself in Lee. He didn’t grow up in a privileged background, he supports Spurs and he plays it down the middle. Those commonalities would have – subconsciously or consciously – certainly helped Lee in the decision-making process.

We also saw evidence of this recognition – or lack thereof – in other candidates. In Week 1, Nicholas de Lacy Brown was fired after he told the former Spurs owner that he didn’t like football. Michael Sophocles outstayed his welcome by several weeks because Alan Sugar saw a bit of himself in the “good Jewish boy”. And on firing Lucinda Ledgerwood in Week 11, he described her as being “too zany” for him.

So, common ground certainly helps. And this is why distinctive brands geared towards their target market succeed. Consumers are able to identify with the image portrayed, and this bond – again subconscious or conscious – helps forge a relationship.

I’m not advocating brands incorporate Spurs or reverse pterodactyls into their marketing. But they should be looking at their target market’s habits, lifestyles and aspirations and looking for factors that can ignite that recognition and attraction.

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SIDENOTE: It shouldn’t work for a pre-recorded show, but it does and Anna Pickard’s liveblogs on the Guardian have been fantastically entertaining over the past 3 months

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