Crowning Glory: Beauty pageants can teach us how to market effectively

If you think about it, the very concept of beauty pageants is rather odd; first of all, beauty is relative, and there should be no universal standard in judging whether one person is more beautiful than another. But then, that’s the tricky part: pageants don’t necessarily decide on beauty itself, but on the way beauty is presented.

In other words, it’s about “marketing” the beauty of a person.

That’s the reason why pageants usually include talent showcases, interviews and seemingly endless exhibitions of various clothing: swimwear, evening gowns and national costumes. People need to see different ways that beauty is featured. If it’s really just about beauty itself, then judges could just look at their faces and the show would be done in a matter of minutes.

It’s not entirely about physical beauty

Most marketers think that the appearance of a product is the basis of consumer appreciation. While it does help in drawing buyers into the hype, it can never be more important than the actual function of the product. Steve Jobs wanted Apple products to look nice, but he didn’t want to compromise quality. For him, functionality is part of the design.

Charm and appeal can move mountains

Not all beauty queens are beautiful in a strict sense. Some of them just had enough charm and appeal to wow the judges and carry themselves through the end. People call it the “x” factor, and there’s no science behind it; in fact, you can’t even describe it in plain words. Products don’t need to strive for perfection, as long as it can capture the hearts of the masses. Does your brand have the “x” factor?

You’ve got to have brains, too

Why do question-and-answer rounds come last in pageants? Simple. The ultimate test for a woman’s beauty is her brains. If you’re beautiful and you say something stupid, people will mock you. But those who speak intelligently are respected, no matter how ugly they could be. The same goes for brands; people will never learn to appreciate a product or service that looks good on the outside but fails to deliver.

Reputation is wealth

You’ve probably heard of beauty queens who have been stripped of their titles because of their scandalous behavior behind the public eye. Society is as critical and unforgiving as ever. One wrong mistake has the potential to destroy everything your company had worked for. As a marketer, you should make sure that everything you do – publicly or otherwise – will not blemish the name and image of your brand.