You Better Werq: What Brands Can Learn From RuPaul’s Drag Race

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For those who have not heard of RuPaul’s Drag Race (RPDR), where have you been? RuPaul’s Drag Race is an American Reality TV Show whereby drag queens compete to become America’s Next Drag Superstar. The contestants are given different challenges each week before two queens battle it out, lip-synching for their lives. Due to its crazy success and genius marketing strategies the show has become a global phenomenon and has now got a series in the UK, Canada, Thailand, Australia, Spain, Holland, Philippines, and Italy. Not to mention its spin-off series: RuPaul Drag Race All Stars and RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked. As a digital marketing agency, we appreciate a brand that understands it’s audience and demonstrates valuable social and content strategies in order to gain success. Here are a few ways the show has gained major popularity in recent years.

Create That Emotional Connection

“Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand and is also one of the main components of a solid content marketing approach.” ~ David Campbell

Storytelling has been a recurring theme throughout the 12 years of RPDR. The Queens are encouraged to speak about tackling difficult emotional demons that range from bullying, abandonment issues, body dysmorphia, and relationship abuse. Giving queens the platform to talk about such issues allows for the audience to connect with not only the person on screen but with the brand as a whole. Humanising a brand is beneficial as consumers build authentic relationships and begin to trust the brand. The show celebrates and encourages self-expression which is powerful as viewers are more likely to establish deep emotional connections such as pride, acceptance, and joy. Positive emotions can strengthen consumers’ attitudes toward a brand and encourage them to engage with the brand using hedonic value.

Taking It A Step Further – Superfans & Loyalty

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At one point the show was considered to have a niche viewership, however, RPDR has gained mainstream loyalty in recent years by being consistent, keeping on trend and elevating the brand. This can be seen by following up the series with Werq The World Tour and Dragcon. Werq The World Tour is an ongoing tour featuring drag queen favourites from RPDR, who perform, and host meet & greets for attendees. Whereas DragCon is a two-day event at the Los Angeles Convention Center allowing fans to watch exclusive shows. Both events bring the brand to life and allow fans to interact personally with the brand in between series.

A successful brand has the ability to deliver a consistent brand experience and continuously maintains a high standard, which RPDR does very well. For example, in season 12 episode 10, Ru invites 5 superfans to feature in a makeover challenge where the fans actually compete as drag queens as a part of the show. Giving fans involvement and allowing them to interconnect directly offers them something of value and meaning. Superfans are highly valuable to a brand because they’re loyal and enthusiastic; they become brand advocates and promote the brand.

The Beginning Of An Internet Subculture?

The show has managed to create a strong connectivity between its viewers and the brand via social media. By utilising YouTube to create series such as The PitStop (an after show featuring guest drag queens to discuss the events of the episode), Instagram to reveal new season queens and Twitter to take part in polls and votes. This kind of positive participation gained from engagement with the brand ultimately strengthens brand satisfaction, over a long period of time this increases loyalty from viewers.

Furthermore, the adoption of social media, catchphrases, hashtags, and quotes from the drag queens now appear on-screen as memes or gifs across many mediums. This has become an intrinsic part of the show to generate buzz online. The variety of catchphrases and sassy style backchat has become legendary. From “What’s the T?” to “Yaaas Queen” to “Not Today Satan!” the show has created its own language that viewers have embraced wholeheartedly. After years of using these phrases, viewers have come to self-identify with the brand as it becomes a part of their daily vocabulary. This is beneficial for brands as it helps spread brand awareness and help the brand become deep seated within consumers thoughts.

Overall, RPDR has demonstrated various techniques which have all played a key role in the success of the show today. I am a huge fan and I love the fact it has also helped open the door of drag, LGBTQ+ and gay culture for a mainstream audience. I am excited to watch Season 3 of RuPaul Drag Race UK. The series airs later this month, click here to meet the queens.