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4 PR lessons you can learn from Cirque du Soleil


Last week, while I was in LA for BlogWorld, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Iris, Cirque du Soleil’s show at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood (disclosure: Cirque du Soleil provided me with two free tickets to this event).

I’ve been to five previous Cirque shows (two in Vegas at previous BlogWorlds and three in the Twin Cities with the traveling shows), and each show follows a similar progression. Group presentation to start the show, followed by individual acts that are broken up by comedic performances culminating with a “finale”-type performance at the tail-end.

And, this one was no different in that way. But, it did incorporate the theme of film, which gave things a different twist. Silhouettes of the performers. Performers carrying cameras (and the film showing up on a 50-foot screen on stage). And hints at famous movies and scenes in the themes and costumes they designed.

As usual, it was an incredible experience. But, as I reflected back on the show the next day at BlogWorld, I couldn’t help but think of a few PR lessons I took away from the show as well:

Consider your customer’s perspective

Two of the coolest moments of the show where when performers actually swung out OVER the audience on trapeze-type contraptions. They you were literally looking straight up, OVERHEAD at these performers. It was incredible. And, it was all about a different perspective (which they had carefully considered when designing the show). Do you have a good feel for your customer’s perspective? Have you spent time in their shoes experiencing your brand from the outside in? That perspective can help you engineer products, services and processes that can enhance your customers’ experience–which can help propel profits and drive loyalty.

Make your customers part of the show

During the second half of the show, the Cirque performers pulled one guest on stage for a somewhat extended routine in which they asked him to act out a number of “scenes” mimicing the Academy Awards. The guy was a pretty good sport. And, the audience loved it. And, more importantly, I’m guessing it’s an experience this gentleman won’t soon forget. What are you doing to draw your customers into your brand? Are you letting “inside the ropes?” I’m thinking specifically about opportunities with influencers and bloggers here.

Don’t forget about artistic design

The design of most Cirque shows is pretty amazing. This particular show has a “firm Noir”-type feel. Costume and set design is a HUGE part of what makes Cirque, Cirque. It completes the experience. Are you considering the artistic design of your brand? I’m not just talking about your actual logo, your marketing materials or your signage. I’m talking about the artistry of your brand. I’m talking about the finer touches. The merchandise your front-line staff wears at events and trade shows. The buttons and link colors on your blog or Web site. Your avatar on social platforms. All that brand artistry adds up to shape your customers’ complete experiences.

Sweat the details

Cirque is famous for sweating the details. I’m always amazed at the level of sophistication in the design. In the costumes. And, in the experience. During intermission, performers roam the aisle and engage the guests. Even the band members in the suites above were carefully dressed, even though they were 50 feet about our heads. It’s an obvious point, but paying attention to the details for your brand can make the difference between a return customer and one that’s willing to walk away.

Have you seen the Cirque du Soleil shows? If yes, any PR lessons you took away?



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