JoJo Siwa, the self-made, 17-year-old, bow-wearing, singer, dancer, entertainer and all-round hustler from Nebraska in the US, is a marketing genius. How can we learn from her?
If you don’t know about JoJo, I recommend getting to know her a bit, her content is a lot of fun, and she has a very positive attitude that shines through. She’s also an extremely seasoned performer and tailors very professional, slick shows that sell out quickly wherever she goes. I attended the Melbourne, Australia show, and it was fantastic. JoJo is also generally a very emotionally mature person, often giving a lot to others and to charity (including giving over $600,000 to the Australian bushfire relief fund).
However, JoJo also has a very extensive, long merchandise list that even extends to ice-cream.
Usually, it’s frowned upon to market to kids, and in some countries laws even stop you from doing it. However, because JoJo’s marketing is so integrated into her overall personal style and brand, the effect is seamless and a lot of kids (and adults…) wouldn’t even realise that they’re being marketed to. Whether or not this is ethical, I will leave for another conversation.
Some of her videos are just straight-up ads for her merchandise, such as:
- Buying every JoJo product at Walmart!
- Buying every JoJo product at Target!
- Guess that JoJo Merch challenge!
- New JoJo Merch Room Revealed!
A very, very clever video – that I’d like to congratulate whoever came up with the idea for, is ‘Babysitting You!‘ – this is clearly targeted to younger children browsing her channel. This video shows her talking to the camera as if she was talking directly to a child she was babysitting. They play with her new merchandise and she very easily slips where it is available into the fourth-wall-breaking conversation.
New merchandise available. ‘Flash Merch’ that JoJo designed herself – unfortunately, international shipping was eyewateringly expensive, or I’d be writing this article wearing one of these bad boys. I’ll stick with my D.R.E.A.M the tour hoodie for now.
Children watching these videos would easily be caught up in the glamour of it all, and later, when they’re at the supermarket, would beg and plead with parents to buy them all the new JoJo merch that they can afford. Luckily I am an adult, and can purchase the JoJo merchandise myself (I’m a fan after all!!)
I’m not here to berate JoJo on her marketing tactics, rather, it’s the opposite, how can marketers learn from JoJo’s strategy?
JoJo completely integrates her marketing into her overall brand. It’s completely one and the same, she wears her own jumpers and bows, she uses her own merchandise for content, she promotes her items flawlessly because hey, here she is using them herself and look how awesome they are? Her merchandise effortlessly reflects her persona. She’s also been working on her stylish image for years, it didn’t just magically happen overnight.
Does your marketing integrate with your brand persona? Or is it some staccato strategy that doesn’t seem in step or in-line with your overall look and feel?
JoJo’s strategies, effortless integration, using and ‘living the brand’ (although I despise that statement, I understand the sentiment). Her marketing is fun, and it isn’t a drudge through yet another ‘we’re here for you‘ TV ad with a background of piano music and a car driving into the sunset. How can you liven up the marketing of your brand? Would a carefully curated YouTube channel, an Instagram or TikTok work for you?
Also, it is likely JoJo has an awesome marketing team behind her, do you have a certain ‘face’ or ‘persona’ that could represent your brand effectively and consistently? People love consistency in marketing, especially in these weird times (such as the lovely Jo Silvagni with Chemist Warehouse – she’s been doing those ads for years! It would be a shock to the system to see someone else doing them at this point).
Applying the following to your marketing:
- Consistency (e.g. social media scheduling, a ‘face’ for the brand)
- Regularity (the same overall look and feel for your brand and campaign, and an undercurrent that runs through all the content)
- A fun and lively feel (cuts through a lot of the drab, boring content – we’re just muting the tv at this point)
- Tight integration (the brand and the advertising convey the same message, there isn’t any confusion about what you and the campaign is showing)
- Follow influencers in the same category – and see how they are promoting themselves or their brand – how can you learn from them? It doesn’t mean stealing their ideas – it could simply mean utilising a strategy with your own content that you’ve seen work for them.
- Use haters as content-makers (JoJo’s TikTok has videos addressing haters comments that she spins and uses as popular viral content – a shrewd strategy that’s also been used by Vegemite and Marmite in the ‘Tastes like Australia‘ Ashes campaign. A really awesome tactic to use if you’re not in an industry bogged down by compliance, to have some fun and banter).
- Output (have a continual upload schedule, and don’t deviate from it – there are plenty of scheduling tools out there that can assist with this).
and see where it can take you. It won’t be easy, and may take market research. testing and trials to eventually get it right. However, the long-term payoff when you do understand what your audience responds to will be worth the short-term pain in finding out what it is.
Like JoJo’s brand, yours will also evolve over time. It’s also important to keep those legacy items when you’re looking back and seeing how far you’ve come, so ensure to keep a backup that you may then utilise or re-use at a future date.
Gaining inspiration and motivation from unlikely sources that may not seem relevant is integral to set yourself apart in your marketing. Especially in the current environment where there is so much content and so much noise. Cutting through it will take hard work, but, like JoJo, keep hustling, keep working hard and Live Your Dream!