(How did the HFPA, a group of seemingly insignificant people,
gain such authority with their Golden Globe award show? More
importantly, how can other brands emulate their success?)
I recommend you read Part 1 of this post before continuing, as otherwise I may come off as a conspiracy theory crazed lunatic.
L.A. Weekly film critic John Powers described the members of The
Hollywood Foreign Press Association as “essentially just bottom-feeders
around the industry, who’ve somehow been inflated to this point where
their judgment is supposed to be very, very important.” (source) So how did the HFPA gain such authority in the field of entertainment review?
As it turns out, the HFPA gained their authority using pretty sound
business strategy (whether it was intentional is debatable). By
organizing an event which appeals to the needs of all the relevant
stake holders in the entertainment business, and maintaining that event
for a long enough period of time, the HFPA gained authority in the
entertainment industry - regardless of the question if they “deserve”
Who are the stake holders in the Golden Globes?
There are the people who watch the show (the viewers), the people who
attend the show (the stars), the TV network which hosts the show (the
network), the movie studios which gain free publicity as a result of
the shows (the studios), the general media which covers the show (the
media), and of course the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who
organizes the show (the organizer).
It all starts with the beautiful people
The brilliance of the Golden Globes begins with creating an award show that actors actually want to attend. As Hollywood Homes mentioned,
the Golden Globes are known as a social event – the actors get to sit
at round tables with their friends, and are given free alcohol and
“goodies” just for showing up (it also doesn’t hurt that the whole
purpose of the show is to praise the existence of its very guests). Oh
– and it’s all for charity, so it would be improper for them not to
So the stars show up. The TV viewers love watching stars. The
network loves the viewers, so they jump on board by telecasting the
ceremony. The studios love free publicity, and the purpose of the show
is to publicize actor’s performances in the studios films, so the
studio does all they can to get the media to show up. The media is more
than happy to show up because not only do they need something to write
about, but they love beautiful people too, as that’s what their readers
So in other words, the HFPA has become an authority in the
entertainment business purely be being a facilitator of an event –
their actual knowledge/experience did not come into play.
…and this is what can be learned from the Golden Globes.
You can establish your brand as an authority on any subject by being a
facilitator - you do not need actual experience in or even knowledge of
As stated in a previous post, this is all too common on the Internet, where the process of becoming a facilitator is logistically easier than in the “real” world.
Using a similar model to the Golden Globes but applying it online,
one could become an authority on any topic. Because it is snowing
outside right now, I will use the example of how a brand can become an
authority on snowboarding:
Setup a forum, blog, Wiki or similar community-based interactive tool
on the topic of snowboarding. Let’s call it snowboardingmaniacs.com.
- Find an “anchor” for your interactive tool to convince “viewers” to
show up to snowboardingmaniacs.com (e.g. What is the equivalent of a
celebrity to snowboarders? Pay professional snowboarders to write
articles for your community? Provide great snowboard photos? etc…)
Partner with an “exhibitor” who can help you expand your audience, in
exchange for a portion of your advertising revenue (become part of the
Yahoo network? Becoming the official photo gallery of a certain ski
Get the manufacturers of snowboard related equipment involved, pumping
money and free stuff to the top users of snowboardingmaniacs.com
Call the snowboard and extreme sports magazines, and get them to print
a monthly feature about the top pictures from snowboardingmaniacs.com.
Continue to repeat this process for a few years, so people get used to the existence of snowboardingmaniacs.com.
Congratulations! Snowboardingmaniacs.com is now an authority on
snowboarding. As the founder of snowboardingmaniacs.com, you are now
qualified to speak at snowboarding events and be interviewed about
snowboarding on the news, regardless of the fact that you have never
stepped on a snowboard (or maybe even seen snow!) in your life.
Isn’t authority wonderful?