What can marketers learn from Oprah?

oprah-goodbye2After a 25-year reign on daytime television, Oprah said goodbye in May. Even if she’s off the small screen, Oprah’s influence leaves a lasting impression.

As we reminisce about freebies and star-studded specials it’s important to consider the lessons we’ve learned from the queen of talk.

Communication – After 25 years, and countless awards and nominations, Oprah knows how to connect with her guests and audience through the art of communication. Her ability to make people laugh, or bring them to tears is a testament to her ability to connect and appeal to millions.

Be transparent – Honesty was key with Oprah, not only for herself, but for her guests as well. She made sure anyone appearing on her show played by that rule or she would call them out without a second thought. Through her transparency she became more relatable and trusted.

Be personable – Oprah was constantly opening up her life to her audience. Whether it was about her hair, weight or her troublesome upbringing, her ability to share details about herself engaged her audience even more.

Suspense is everything – The word Oprah just stirs up a buzz. Down to her “Secret Show” finale Oprah knew how to generate attention and intrigue.

The power of a review – Oprah was famous for showering her audiences with extravagant, red-carpet gifts. If she happened to mention one of your products, that product would soon fly off store shelves. On the flip side, if she happened to criticize your product, hold on for a heck of a dry spell.

Public Relations 101: Don’t be a Weiner

Okay, you have just been caught with your pants down – pun intended. When the world finds out about your wrong doing or your company’s wrong doing, you should:


B.      Blame the media

C.      Say it was someone else

The correct answer in communications is D. None of Above.

Rep. Anthony Weiner was caught tweeting a photo of his underpants to a young woman and admitted to flirtatious online exchanges with several women. He took all the actions of someone who thought he could outsmart the public. For days he claimed he had not sent the racy photos and that he was hacked, before finally coming clean in a garden-variety tearful apology.

Why not just start with the truth – the story cycle ends quicker that way.