Six surprising things Love Island has taught us about brand personality (and why you shouldn't be a Jonny)

Love Island is currently causing a stir across the nation, with more and more folk becoming hooked on the ITV2 show and its unmissable relationship drama.

But what can brands learn from the programme? Beth Daniel, our Digital Marketing Assistant, explains all…

You will find a glossary of all Love Island terms used throughout this post at the bottom of the page.

To the dissatisfaction of my family’s hopes and dreams for me as an intellect, I am totally guilty of tuning into Love Island at 9pm every evening. Drawn in by the mind-numbing drama, I actually find myself (due to fomo[1]) planning my evenings around watching it. Sad, you say?

Well maybe, but actually the programme has a lot more to offer than love affairs, relationship meltdowns and excessive fake tan. Never did I ever think I could actually learn something from Love Island - nor did I think I’d manage to get writing about Love Island past the boss - but here I am, and I think many other professionals and brands could take a leaf out of the programme’s book (consisting of many types on paper[2]) too.

And for the benefit of the boss (who somehow hasn’t seen the show?!) the basic premise is that they take a bunch of young, good looking singletons and put them all in a huge villa together. The aim of the game is to find love, and the winning couple (voted by the public) will receive £50,000. Not to mention countless deals with protein shake and teeth whitening companies. #Spon.

Love Island’s success is exactly down to something we, as businesses, should all be doing. The programme is completely shameless and honest in accepting its overall brand personality, embracing the ‘trashy’ label given to it by the public and creating a huge following by doing so. And for that, I commend the show.

So, how have Love Island harnessed this public reaction to create a brand personality, and what could businesses learn from the show in order to follow in its footsteps?

1. Using ironic hashtags is pretty jokes[3].

Hashtagging, while a particularly useful way to engage in topics on social media, is often done humorously on platforms like Twitter and Instagram too.

Love Island have totally jumped on this trend, with producers adding long, provocative hashtags to the end of any text messages sent to the Islanders. These are used both to add comical value and wind up specific contestants (cough, Jonny[4], cough).

Using funny hashtags on social media can help to show a bit of the personality behind your brand. Long hashtags, incorrect hashtags and self-mocking through hashtagging can be great ways to do this.

Take a look at how Raspberry Pi use comical hashtags in their posts when pointing out how people have incorrectly tagged them in food posts of raspberry pie[5], showing the more light-hearted and fun side to their brand.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Parody accounts and memes can be your best friend, if you use them wisely.

Being laughed at isn’t always a bad thing, especially not in Love Island’s case. Rather than taking itself too seriously, the programme reacts to the action on social media, focusing on relatable content rather than anything too serious.

But where the real genius comes in is the parody accounts. Although parody accounts can often seem out to make a mockery of your brand, using them to your advantage can sometimes prove beneficial.

Accounts such as the Love Island Reactions page on Facebook and @LoveIslandBants on Twitter share funny content posted by viewers. In turn, this has created a bit of a stir on social media, raking in lots of likes and shares and attracting far more curious viewers towards the show.

Now that’s not to say businesses should encourage people to speak badly of them – the important message here is that Love Island doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sometimes, being able to share a laugh with your audience, customer or client can help build positive relationships and further custom in the future.

An example of when a parody account has helped a business on social media is The Dolphin pub in Hackney, created by David Levin. Initially, its only Twitter presence was in the form of a parody account about the pub, but this in itself has made noise and given the business an online presence – the account now has 28k followers!

The landlady also seemed quite happy about the fun Twitter page, and now has a real account which is mentioned in the parody account’s bio. Everyone’s a winner.

3. Be more Camilla[7].

She’s kind, she’s sensitive and she’s different from the rest – and that’s what makes her stand out.

With her strong morals and values and bomb disposal expert job role, it’s fair to say that Camilla is cut from a different cloth to the rest of the cast. Despite this, her unique and authentic outlook has really made her appeal to the public.

As a business, it is so important to be able to strike the right balance between showing personality and being able to relate with your potential customers. In a competitive world, it is also so important for brands to stand out from its competitors. That’s why showcasing your personality through your digital marketing strategy is so important.

Although businesses don’t have the round-the-clock cameras rolling like Love Island, you can show your more personal side through sharing behind-the-scenes humour, opinions, passions and more on your social media channels.

Try to avoid any extreme opinions or overtly political opinions though, as this could alienate a section of the audience you are trying to reach.

4. Don’t be a Jonny.

I know Theo[8] stole Tyla[9] from him, but come on Jonny. Calmer is much, much cooler, especially when it comes to your competitors. (For those who don’t know, during a recoupling[10], Theo decided to pursue Tyla. This caused Jonny to overreact rather embarrassingly with words not suitable for the Sookio blog).

Relating to the above point, it’s great to show personality throughout your digital marketing efforts, particularly on social media, but it’s really important to know where to draw the line. Try to avoid reacting in an angry or hasty way when you may not agree with something someone has said or done – whether that be a competitor, employee or customer.

Customer complaints on Twitter are particularly common. The best way to deal with it is calmly and politely, and moving the conversation to direct message as swiftly as possible will help to keep it out of the public eye. So instead of throwing your toys out of the pram like Jonny, find a way to deal with complaints, mistakes and trolls on Twitter effectively.

5. Make the most of user generated content

Something Love Island does particularly well is make the most of viewer reactions. As well as using tweets by viewers to spark a reaction among followers on its own accounts, Love Island has an app to allow viewers to vote on decisions which involve the fate of contestants, really enabling them to become a part of the drama.

Directly interacting with your customers is really important way of building brand loyalty in the world of business. Demonstrating that you are conversing with your customers is a really attractive thing to prospective customers or clients too.

If you don’t have the skills or budget to build an app, don’t worry – why not try using Twitter polls, blog comment boxes, surveys and discussion forums such as a Facebook page or LinkedIn group to regularly engage customers with your brand.

6. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket[11].

If there’s one thing the Islanders have learnt in the villa, it’s to not put all their faith in one person. Dom[12] pied Montanna[13], Jonny pied Camilla and – to an extent, and the nation’s heartbreak – Marcel[14] pied Gabby[16] in Casa Amor[17]. Not to mention Kem's[18] classic pieing of Amber[19] at Casa Amor, who he then unpied when pieing Chyna[6] to get back together with Amber again. Still following?

For a reminder of what 'pied' means, see number [5] in the glossary.

When reaching out to customers, it’s really important for businesses not to channel all their efforts, or eggs, into one platform or method. For example, if you’re dishing out hilarious content on your Twitter feed, but Facebook and Instagram are looking a little dry, your brand personality will look inconsistent, and ultimately false, to followers.

Similarly, having a blog is great, but without a thorough digital strategy, your content won’t be seen. With digital marketing it’s all about the overall effort, and consistency across social media content, company blogs, email newsletters and the way you are tracking your success is crucial.

Trying to find ways to establish your brand personality online? Read more about the range of digital services Sookio can offer, or get in touch to chat about your project. 

Glossary of Love Island terms:

[1] Fomo – Fear of missing out.

[2] Type on paper – A phrase repeatedly used by Love Island contestants, commonly referring to exactly what they are looking for in a partner. Or in Amber’s case, a term used to describe a man with a pulse.

[3] Funny.

[4] Jonny - Probably the country’s most disliked individual.

[5] Pied - to ’pie' someone is to reject their advances or end your relationship with them, often causing humiliation like a cream pie to the face. See also ‘Chyna’[6].

[6] Chyna – A human embodiment of what it means to be 'pied', lasting approximately two episodes.

[7] Camilla – Recently overtaking Mary Berry as Britain’s national treasure.

[8] Theo - A recent addition to the Island – tall, dark hair, a team GB athlete. Amber’s type on paper.

[9] Tyla - Another latecomer, but she upset Camilla by stealing Jonny from her grasp, so we kind of don’t like her.

[10] Recoupling - The Islanders are often asked to re-choose who they want to be in a couple with. Often causes mega drama.

[11] To put your eggs in one basket - A term used a painful amount by contestants to describe the action of focusing solely on one romantic partner. ‘Cause who wants to do that, really?

[12] Dom – A guy who pied a girl for a girl who then pied him.

[13] Montana – Voted favourite girl by the public, she snacks a lot and says what we’re all thinking half of the time.

[14] Marcel – A peacemaker, gentleman and best friend. See ‘bae’ [15]. (Did you know he was in Blazing Squad?)

[15] Bae – Acronym for Before Anyone Else, a term used to describe someone or something with a heart of gold.

[16] Gabby - Marcel’s ‘gal’. A real sweetheart who many viewers can relate to.

[17] Casa Amor – A massive Love Island plot twist and the female Islander’s version of hell.

[18] Kem - A real gem, constantly entertaining the other members of the villa with his top rapping skills.

[19] Amber - Kem's girlfriend, despite a rocky road up to this point. Likes writing books. Also see 'type on paper'[2].