The Envelopes Please: 5 Business Lessons from Primetime Emmy Awards

Here are five award-winning business lessons entrepreneurs can learn from the Emmy Awards.

Television is big business.

Almost every home in the United States (more than 99 million of them) has a television, and Americans, on average, watch about three hours of television a day. And quite a few of them tuned in for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards.

The Primetime Emmy Awards, presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), recognizes excellence in American primetime television programming each year. This year’s awards ceremony was full of surprises and a captive television audience. According to the Los Angeles Times, the “Emmy Awards show on CBS posted its highest ratings in years.  On a night filled with TV competition, the live three-hour ceremony hosted by Neil Patrick Harris delivered roughly 15.2 million total viewers, according to early Nielsen numbers.”

“Sunday’s telecast of the Primetime Emmy Awards on CBS delivered the kudocast’s largest audience in eight years and its best demos in seven years —  thanks in part to a healthy lead-in from football,” according to Variety.

Unexpecting fans endured a “series of upsets, including Jeff Daniels’ acting win for HBO’s ‘The Newsroom,’ beating out Kevin Spacey in Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ and Bryan Cranston in ‘Breaking Bad.'” But there is more to be gained from the annual who’s who in television event.

Here are five award-winning business lessons entrepreneurs can learn from the Emmy Awards:


1. Exemplify excellence in your category.

The premise of the Emmy Awards, not to mention the Academy Award (for film), the Tony Award (for theatre), and the Grammy Award (for music), is to honor and celebrate excellence. When it comes to business, in your industry, how are you actively branding and building a business that could be viewed as ‘excellent’? Excellent small business experiences start with relentless attention to the smaller details that larger competitors may miss.


2. Promote yourself, and your business, better.

Emmy Awards entrants submit their nominations and pay a standard entrance fee. Then they get to work on promotion. In fact, TV “producers often advertise in the trade press before the Emmy nominations are turned in, trying to get voters to notice their shows. And, of course, after the nominations are announced, more ads go out as the producers promote their shows’ nominations.” So, contrary to popular belief an Emmy Award doesn’t fall into a recipients lap — they have to work for it, pre, during, and post show.


3. Crowdsource awareness using brand advocates and social media.

One of the biggest draws to the Emmy Awards is the fan faire preceding the televised event. “All throughout Emmy weekend, stars [take] us behind-the-scenes as they prepare for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards with fun photos, posted all over Instagram and Facebook.” A majority of these celebrities have a vested interest in promoting their attendance or nominations.

In the same way, consider how well you’ve positioned your company to influence brand advocates to promote their association with your business? Crowdsource your biggest fans, share “what’s in it for me” and reward them well for spreading your small business gospel.


4. Think business, support your industry, and create win-win outcomes.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) originally established the Emmy Awards as an image-building and public relations opportunity. They hosted the event locally and later expanded to a national presence. Everyone wins big at the Emmy Awards, and similar events. Think for a moment, about the profits made during one night of celebrity sight-seeing and industry recognition.

Online marketing strategist David Mooring explains, “The nominees and award winners win… The broadcast networks and stations win. They get to air an event in which the who’s who of Hollywood shows up to pat each other on the back. They win because when they get millions of watchers tuned in, advertisers pay them to show commercials. There’s big bucks in advertising. But you knew this already. The advertisers win because they get their product in front of millions of captivated viewers. Sponsors win. Designers. Dress makers. Jewelers. Hair stylists. After party hosts. Beverage companies. Airlines. Hotels. And, well, you get the idea.”

How is your small business creating a snowball effect of win-win outcomes for numerous stakeholders?

That’s a wrap!

View the next page to get an inside look at how a primetime emmy is won.


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