Dancing With The Stars and the Power of Cross-Promotion

Season 16 of Dancing with the Stars (#DWTS) premiered last week. It is consistently one of the highest rated shows on TV. Even if you don’t watch it personally, I bet someone in your family does.

I didn’t see it live last Monday. But when I watched the recording on DVR, I was struck by what a consistently brilliant job ABC, and parent company Disney, do of cross-promotion through that show. The most recent examples in the Season 16 cast include:

  • Ingo Rademacher – An actor who has been on the ABC soap opera General Hospital for 18 years #TeamIngo
  • Zendaya Coleman – The youngest contestant in the history of the show at age 16, who also stars on the Disney Channel TV show Shake It Up! #TeamZendaya
  • Sean Lowe – The most recent star of The Bachelor, and former contestant on The Bachelorette, both ABC reality TV shows #TeamSean

Right out of the gate, the casting department has 3 out of 12 of their “stars” cast from their own virtual backyard. This is no accident. It is very smart marketing to cross-promote all of their shows to the enormous audience tuning in on Monday and Tuesday nights to Dancing.

How can you take a page out of the ABC/Disney playbook? Learn how to cross-promote your ideas / initiatives / projects at work the same way they cast Dancing With The Stars.

  • You or someone on your team can talk about the project in all of the right staff meetings
  • Cover it creatively with multi-media in all of the right Town Hall meetings
  • Create an interactive experience for the upcoming leadership off-site meetings with senior executives
  • Build it into the content for cross-functional initiatives where multiple leaders / stakeholders can become mutually accountable for success together and reinforce one another’s ideas
  • Ensure upcoming recipients of the appropriate reward and recognition programs receive kudos for their delivery against critical components of the project, such as quick wins at the outset to gain momentum
  • Embed electronic “posters” on the TV displays in the break room in all of the company facilities where employees are personally impacted by the initiative, showing them (with pictures) how their work will change
  • Feed the grapevine facts. People talk! Be sure they are talking about accurate information at the proverbial water cooler

What additional ideas do you have for the list? I’d love to hear what else you have seen work for your projects / initiatives at work. The trick is to leverage a variety of existing channels to your benefit. They already work, so use them just like Dancing With The Stars!

Betsy Winkler is Partner at People Results. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1 or on email at bwinkler@www.people-results.com. Sign up to receive her and her colleagues’ blog at Current.