Lessons Learned: What Jamaican Promo Girls Can Teach You About Business

Many of us think of promotional girls as just scantily clad women who go around at events and use their sex appeal to get you to buy whatever they are promoting, but if you look past the revealing clothing (as hard as that may be) these girls can teach us some valuable lessons about business.

Everyday I try my best to extract a few lessons and learn from life experiences as I go along, so I can become a true student of life, this post is inspired by the time I spent in Negril for the independence weekend at RTI. From my trip to RTI I observed and interacted with a few promotional teams for the weekend event namely Rough Rider Condoms and Boom Energy Drink promotional girls and at all the parties I observed how just a small group of promo girls can control the entire vibe of an event. It was a very amazing thing to witness as these parties had hundreds of patrons but literally no more than 20 promo girls were the stars of each event and most definitely had a significant impact on the vibe of the event. So as I looked back on the weekend I realized that these promotional girls can teach us a lot about business if we take the time to observe it, the lessons are as follows.

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Know Your Field

I remember hanging around a few promo girls and the conversations were usually centered around who was gonna be at the next event, the girls in the other teams who could dance well, the type of music being played at events and how the venues were set up (so they can climb on certain objects to attract attention). Along with all that the girls would spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos with the latest dance trends and proceed to sharpen their skills on the hot dances of the moment. Now this may seem like idle talk and a waste of time to the average person but this type of research into what they are doing is very admirable and reminded me of conversations I have with my business partners on a daily basis, if we start off talking about how Portia taxed patties the conversation will take a 360 and end up with us talking about marketing strategies of Juici, Tastees and Mothers.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Know Your Competition: Whatever business you are in it’s important for you to know who you’re competing against, you need to know their strengths and weaknesses then come up with plans as to how you can challenge their strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.
  • Keep Up To Date On Industry Trends: You cannot be oblivious to what is going on, you must know the latest happenings in your industry, if you are in the business of online and social media marketing like myself you need to keep up to date to changes within the different social networks as well as read industry reports when they are released. Knowing is one thing, using the knowledge you’ve gained to your advantage is another, so don’t just read and observe, act upon this information to make your business better.

Presentation is Key

Now I can go on for days and days about how attractive these girls are and when I see my friends and they ask me about the weekend I’ll more than likely say “Yooooo the Boom and Rough Rider girl dem did look goood!!…one of em had me thinking about paying ALL her bills! …not to say I can afford to do so such a thing, but I would make a sincere attempt to get the task done, THAT’S how good they were looking!!”, which is good for Boom and Rough Rider because their brands get mentioned in conversation even if not directly related to the product. For every event the girls were always well put together and in uniform. Now I’m not saying you have to be attractive to be successful in business, I’m no runway model, but you have to put your best foot forward when it comes to how your business is perceived by the public in terms of appearance. In the same way I’m sure these girls spent a significant time putting on make up and hitting the gym, you should put in time and money in having a decent website, well designed business cards,  etc.

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Key Takeaway:

  • Good Design Adds Value: It’s no longer accepted to put off how well designed your product is with the hope people will love it for what it can do. In a world where some of the most innovative companies (Apple, Google, Facebook) speak on the design of their products as if it is the only thing that matters you’d be stupid to put it off. Think of it this way, if you walk into a store to buy a fruit drink, you saw two brands of fruit drinks for the same price, one in a brown box with scribbled writing or one that looked like a Tropicana bottle which one would you buy? Nuff said.

Have a Strategy

Earlier I mentioned how the girls would spend time watching YouTube videos of the latest dance trends, they also spent significant time learning these moves and coming up with some pretty good choreography that they’d display at parties that would definitely draw a crowd mostly filled with thirsty men taking Instagram pictures and envious girlfriends. This one I saw mostly from the Boom Energy Drink girls, who I must say are some incredibly good dancers, they more than likely prepared before each night and went to every event with a plan in mind as to how they were gonna be the center of attention for the night. Ever heard of a business plan? business model? marketing strategy maybe? just like the girls, when going into business you must have some sort of plan in mind as to how you’ll gain and retain customers as well as how you’ll position yourself as an authority in your market.

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Key Takeaway:

If You Fail To Plan You Plan To Fail: You can’t go into business without some basic plan in mind, you may hear stories of people who seemingly “stumbled” into a business and became millionaires, it’s bullshit, they sat down for an extended period of time and studied the industry and came up with a short term plan as to how they’d capitalize off their talent. We always plan, when you wake up you are already planning your day in your mind you’ll start off with a shower hopefully then end the day with a warm meal. Develop strategic plans when in business and make room for movement so you are not bounded by these plans, the DJ’s may not have played the songs the girls practiced to but they improvised and stole the show either way.

Take Risks

During the RTI weekend I witnessed these promo girls mainly the ones from Rough Rider Condoms do some acrobatic stunts, blocked traffic and climbed to the top of stages, it was quite a show. They weren’t afraid to take risks to bring that needed attention to their brand. I’d tell you about these risks but the pictures below tell a better story than I ever could.

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Key Takeaway:

Big Risks, Big Reward: In business you can’t be afraid to take a few risks to push your company forward whether that risk may be changing target markets, a risque marketing campaign or going in a field outside of your expertise (eg- Amazon and the cloud) , you took a risk going into business for yourself in the first place. The risks taken by the Rough Rider girls resulted in a lot of word of mouth marketing for the brand, a few heavily shared pictures on Facebook and me taking time out to dedicate a blog posts to them which are all increasing their brand awareness.  Big Risks, equals Big Reward as they say.

Have Fun

Now one thing that was for certain when observing these promo girls is that they were really enjoying what they were doing, they loved dancing, they loved the attention and they loved the brands they were working for. No doubt this love resulted in them having quite a good time doing “work” as you could see the joy on their faces at events and on the Negril strip interacting with the public to tell them about their respective brands, even going on joyrides on bikes with a few people. I experience the same thing, I really don’t consider what I do as work because I enjoy doing it so much and it results in me being willing to spend endless nights on a project without complaining. The promo girls enjoy their jobs and it resulted in them doing a great job.

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Key Takeaway:

Do Something You Enjoy: In whatever field of business you’re in if you wake up in the mornings dreading to go to work you’re probably in the wrong line of work and need to stop immediately. When you or enjoy what you’re doing you’ll put out more effort, you’ll work longer hours and take more pride in what you produce to the public.  Steve Jobs said it better than I ever could.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

 

Do you know anything else we can learn from promotional girls? Leave your comments!, Liked this post? Go ahead and share it with a friend!!

 

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