Spring Sing
Last night I attended what has become a quirky tradition at my old college alma mater. Every year the University puts on a student produced show called Spring Sing, which features each of the student clubs singing and dancing in short little entertaining chunks. The whole production is probably a lot like the talent show that Seth Godin wrote about in his blog a few weeks ago and quoted a friend describing it as, “more show than talent.” No one attends the show expecting Broadway quality entertainment, but this year the show wasn’t even up to it’s own standards.

In between the club routines they feature performances from the “hosts” of the show. The hosts audition for their parts in the production, so this is where you usually see, or rather hear, the true talent of the evening. Their job is to keep the tempo of the show up and the atmosphere light and enjoyable. They usually sing songs that are upbeat and people know the words to. This is a great lead in to the club performances which never fail to exhibit what a group of highly caffeinated students mixed with a zany theme, and their own lyrics can produce.

I quickly realized, however, that the hosts of last night’s show were trying something a little different this year. They were acting out a sort of mini drama in between the club acts and it was depressing. Instead of maintaining the energetic atmosphere that the clubs were exhibiting, the hosts’ performances were a quick downer in between acts.

This made me think about how important it is to keep messages consistent at all times. Hit the same selling point every time you communicate to your consumers. Bill Schley and Carl Nichols Jr., in their book, Why Johnny Can’t Brand, reinforce the importance of picking a “Dominant Selling Idea” and pushing that one idea and only that idea. Figure out the one thing you do best and tell people about it. Leave all the other benefits alone and people will remember you better.

It might be true that all of the hosts at last night’s show might be great at putting on a serious drama, but it wasn’t the time or place for them to demonstrate this talent. The whole show would have been overall better if the hosts had reinforced Spring Sing’s history of upbeat and eccentric performances. In this case the selling point is a crazy, quirky, goofy student show. It’s what people expect. Give it to them!