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By Luisa Garcia-Amaya

May 24th 2024


Case Study

Social media

Netflix’s Bridgerton can Teach us a Thing or two for the Future of Content Strategy

May 24th 2024

  • Bridgerton’s marketing does not follow the rules. As with Eloise, this campaign is funny, daring, and bold, but most importantly, it's real and relatable.
  • Netflix bases itself on customer-focused services and its marketing campaigns reflect that ethos.
  • This idea of an alternate universe where society behaves differently toward communities that have been segregated in our history is a big selling point, and it's an important part of the marketing strategy too.
  • Social media and micro-celebrities like Cat Quinn make Bridgerton's world more approachable and desirable by engaging the community through established parasocial relationships.
  • A meme-centric content creation makes the voice-to-voice campaign reach a vast number of people in a more effective way than other TV advertisements.

Lady Whistledown article

Yes, I'm on the Bridgerton train and won't deny it. I've even brought friends, family, and colleagues along for the ride. How did this happen?

As someone who reads Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf in my free time, this isn't really my type of content consumption, but then I realised ... the reason is that it's everywhere: on all my devices, on my social media accounts.

So I thought, how can I write about groundbreaking digital marketing techniques and great affiliate programs with Bridgerton on the brain? Well, by compiling a case study about the Netflix's digital promotion of Bridgerton's show and how it's going to change advertising forever!

Let’s start analysing:

The Bridgerton Effect

Netflix is THE streaming service these days, but as it continues to crucially and carefully curate for its community, it will only continue to grow. Netflix's main objective is to sell, and by sell, I mean increase watch time.

Relatability is a big thing. But in Bridgerton, we are taken back to the regency time period of the early 19th century. George III's regent son, who had gone quite mad, was in charge of England. This era was considered a period of change and development in many industries, and the idea on how to be able to market such a product (as this is what Netflix shows are, really) in the 21st century is interesting.

Through its writing alone, the show creates an inclusive world in which every identity that is rejected by an uptight society has a chance to establish itself. An alternative universe carefully developed over 8 / 50 minute episodes per season, where "One of them fell in love with one of us", as Lady Danbury elegantly puts it in conversation with the Duke of Hastings in season one.

In light of this, Netflix has to consider a multitude of variables to strategise and execute a content strategy. What are the best ways to place such an outdated and rehashed product concept in the modern world?

All of us wallflowers are excited to see Penelope adored and desired; Shondaland used this modern concept and took a huge creative risk to create this period drama with comedy, action, and orchestral covers of our favourite tunes, along with plenty of romance.

With a product as interesting and creative as Bridgerton, the marketing strategy should also be of the same level. This idea is backed by Netflix's marketing mix of the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion).

Developing a unique marketing strategy for a unique product

Netflix's customer acquisition happens mostly through social media, so understanding the importance of social media channels is key. In keeping with trends on social media for their community-centred approach, engaging viewers and keeping them informed (and curious) about the show's production and story was crucial to building the hype that led to 45 million views in week one of the show's launch.

We should also remember that Netflix's major revenue generator is subscriptions, followed by partnerships with brands and production companies. Therefore, content marketing increases their major revenue point by creating brand awareness and more reproductions of their original that is unique to the platform. This is backed up by SEO, Email marketing, guerrilla marketing, and physical campaigns.

From a digital marketing perspective, TV shows are an interesting and challenging product due to their non-tangible nature; however, the visual aspect of them is of utmost importance because they are where the user will consume the product. Netflix has perfected using and leveraging a hype moment by embracing the benefits and opportunities social media and this new digital era bring for brand awareness and product awareness, in addition to personalisation and innovation on the show itself.

Netflix's content marketing strategy consistently maintains its well-regarded image worldwide. The company's promotional strategies are gaining popularity on key digital media platforms, leaving customers excited and eager for more. It is through relatability, innovation, and community endorsement that Netflix is able to relate to everyday people, then the snowball effect occurs by default.

The Million Dollar Question: How did they do it?

Although Netflix may have a slightly larger budget for content and digital marketing than the average company, if you consider it, their content foundation is linked to the community-first strategy, which utilises parasocial relationships and the digital culture that social media promotes.

Digital marketing is not just a form of online promotion but encompasses everything, and Netflix understands its importance to the business value-chain lifespan of brand sustainability. The key to success is engagement and integration of community use, and the understanding that people will share in a second what they like, what they can relate to, and most importantly, that they grasp the power of a meme in an engaged community.

Therefore, when promoting a show like Bridgerton, they unlock the power of history, modernity, relatability and dreams by focusing on the uniqueness of the customer experience and the personalisation of content.

In addition, they have increased hype and curiosity by dividing their third seasion premiere into two parts, making the campaign much longer and reaching a much wider audience.

Using a combination of digital and physical marketing, Netflix was able to reach many people and make the community as involved as possible, connecting the show's story with both die-hard Bridgerton fans and casual viewers alike.

Personalised Content

Personalised content is at the core of the campaign's success. As they promote the show using the actors and producers answering general questions, they also provide more personalised and popular content that makes the actors and the show more relevant to the general public.

Interviews with the talent are a common practice, but by bringing on influencers who are closely associated with the show, like Cat Quinn, the content becomes hyper-targeted and engaging for those who watch it, with questions that actually relate to the story and consider the characters' humanity at their core. This personalised content gives credibility that no anonymous source can give, and it gives power to the product as well.

Guerrilla Marketing

Netflix has not been shy of some guerilla marketing in the past. Shows like Wednesday and Squid Games have seen incredible guerilla marketing in cities like New York, which once posted on the digital sphere a great strategy to acquire more interested and possible new subscribers and watchers. But alas, Bridgerton doesn't get any guerilla marketing...Yet.

Social Media Campaign

The Bridgerton fanbase is massive, and they are some really hardcore fans, so you better believe they will be checking, hunting, and craving content. Netflix's social media strategy is absolutely brilliant because it really dares to take plenty of creative risks.

I have noticed the use of multi-channel (and location-based content) accounts in their marketing campaign, as well as content that is connected (revealing the story slowly and keeping the audience engaged). Let me explain:

In the first place, we have a multi-channel approach. Netflix has a character promotion, for example, and using a content analysis of each platform ensures they post not only the content in a different format and style, but also make use of the different times the platforms are most active; it is an old-school, basic, yet effective technique.

The secret? The content! The user is able to connect with each character more deeply by focusing on them individually, which allows them time to form connections between them.

Secondly, we have storytelling with connected content; here's an example. Netflix started revealing character content with storylines narrated by each actor about 15 days before the launch of the first 4 episodes.

This content generated much anticipation for the development of the stories, the connections the characters have to each other, and how the story will develop in the next season. In the days before Netflix's launch, some similar content was released, this time with the characters creating connections with another, and in a way relieving the intrigue.

Essentially, their social media content follows the rules while also breaking them. This strategy follows the expectations, uniqueness, and satisfaction principles that social media promotion should follow for a visual product, but the content is expected and recycled, and I believe that is the real secret.

The story they tell is consistent, catches your attention, is oddly relatable, and doesn't play by the rules - all reasons that can be applied to your own product/service.

Meme Marketing

Although I could include this in the social media content strategy, Netflix is so unhinged with memes that it deserves a separate section. This, in my professional opinion, is Netflix's golden ticket to success. Social media memes are not for the youth anymore, as their power for grandiose relatability has reached new heights.

The use of memes is considered an effective tool to cope with online information, irrespective of the type. When Pitbull's Give Me Everything was featured on the soundtrack of the show and featured prominently on a special scene for the fans, Netflix knew of the social and cultural impact this would have. Pitbull is now Lord Worldwide, Earl of the 305.

This one variable created a chain of meme references related to things a community like Latinos could feel totally connected to (more than the show itself, given that Latin America was barely a handful of independent nations at the time of Regency England).

Meme culture aids digital and cultural communication, simplifying the intercultural and intergenerational connections and processes, and enabling connections via conceptual references that correlate with one another. To put it in simpler terms, it brings people together through a funny image and a laugh.

Netflix appears to be taking advantage of a new approach to social media marketing that exists within platforms such as Instagram. These platforms have plenty of curated content yet are still places for meme culture and casual content.

By using the @bridgertonnetflix account on the brand throughout, and using specific accounts such as @contodonetflix and @netflixuk (and their respective countries' accounts), they are easily connecting with the community through memes and comments engagement.

SEO Optimisation

Netflix SEO is great, their domain authority is high, and their marketing strategy is spot on. As you might expect, they use keywords that are highly relevant to their niche and, of course, they integrate original shows that are becoming very popular (like Bridgerton) and use clever header tags and best practices to rank high.

The Netflix team has Netflix TUDUM, which is ideal for hardcore fans. They use it to create content that is both complex and explanatory for the show. They also offer exclusive content that can only be seen on their site, such as behind-the-scenes clips.

Email Marketing

In the past few years, Netflix have excelled in Email Marketing because of their ultra personalisation (thanks to their data-driven magic algorithm), reminding you to finish a show you started, rewatch a season that will have new episodes soon, or rewatch a show you have already rewatched 17 times (like S3, ep4, with the last 20 minutes on repeat ...).

In addition, they utilise the top 10 and trending tactics extensively to make you feel as though you belong to a community, and also to fulfil your holiday cravings for niched content to watch. Overall, they pioneered many of the email marketing techniques we see today, and announcements about Bridgerton were also very prevalent, using TUDUM content along with them.

Pop-up Campaigns

Netflix combines physical and digital marketing with pop-up events. Through a global tour that takes place in ten cities with physical events, the show invites not only the press, but influencers and regular people to experience the world of Bridgerton with mind-blowing installations that include live actors dressed in period gowns, a proper promenade time, high tea, and the chance to interact with the talent as well.

Considering the fact that there are no embargoes in place on all people attending these events, the social media coverage that others provide for them is absolutely amazing and cleverly cost-effective.

How to make Netflix's Content Strategy your own

Bridgerton’s popularity is an example of how digital marketing can be used to create a sense of community and engagement. Netflix is leveraging the power of digital marketing to create meaningful connections with its viewers. This strategy is essential for creating long-term brand value and sustainability.

When you simplify how you view this streaming service, you will be able to see its complete marketing strategy clearly. In my eyes, I see two main selling points: Bridgerton Regency (lifestyle) and the Bridgertons themselves.

Both of these ideas are intended to make you, the audience, relate to the show, and yes, there is some complexity to relating to aristocratic Regency England, but not the fantasy of being part of it.

Human connection is the second point, and it is a tactic every marketer has tried and succeeded with for many years. How can x or Y products relate to you specifically? Can Penelope and you be one and the same 200 years apart? What can we do to improve things for you?

It's all about getting in everyone's head. Netflix's strategy focuses on creating an emotional connection with viewers through storytelling, creating content that resonates with them, and engaging with them on a more personal level. This allows them to build a strong customer base and create brand loyalty and most importantly the following points that can be applicable to our own individual campaigns:

  • The success of Netflix's marketing strategy for Bridgerton is a testament to the power of innovative digital promotion and the importance of understanding audience engagement. By integrating modern digital marketing techniques with creative content strategies, Netflix has transformed a period drama into a global phenomenon.
  • The meticulous blending of personalisation, guerrilla marketing, effective social media campaigns, meme culture, SEO optimisation, email marketing, and immersive pop-up campaigns has established a new standard for brand awareness and customer acquisition.
  • How to place a product that is outdated in a modern world? How do you convince your audience of the validity and success of your product with your promotion campaigns? You adapt, and you bring that world and its characteristics into reality and make it yours and theirs.
  • Netflix's ability to create a relatable and immersive world, despite the historical setting, showcases its mastery in making content that resonates with diverse audiences. The strategic use of social media and parasocial relationships of micro-influencers to foster community and drive engagement has not only kept viewers hooked, but also generated significant word-of-mouth promotion.
  • The Bridgerton campaign highlights how digital marketing can be harnessed to build a devoted fanbase, create massive anticipation, and sustain interest over extended periods.
  • Moreover, the significance of online consumption use has been adopted by many brands by focusing a large part of their social media use on brand engagement, brand image and identity, and how it influences user consumption and mouth-to-mouth results.
  • While you might not have handsome actors as part of your campaigns, the content that you create can and must be just as dashing as Luke Newton is.

Netflix's success is attributed to maintaining a strong voice throughout the campaign and emphasising community-first and personalisation in a way that is easily applicable all around the world, while selling the ideal of romance (applicable to product and service).

Their strategy has also been successful in creating strong relationships with its customers through personalised experiences, such as offering recommendations, sending emails, and targeting ads. This allows them to build relationships with their customers and create a lasting impression.

Ultimately, Netflix's approach demonstrates that the future of advertising lies in creating meaningful connections with audiences through innovative and relatable content. The Bridgerton effect will undoubtedly serve as a blueprint for future marketing campaigns, illustrating that with the right strategy, even the most niche products can achieve mainstream success.

This case study reinforces the importance of adaptability, creativity, and a deep understanding of the digital landscape in modern marketing practices.

The same marketing approach can also be analysed for other recent shows such as Season Six of Black Mirror, Atlas, Stranger Things, Wednesday, and Squid Games, but let's be honest: they got it spot-on for Bridgerton. All the world needs right now is a bit of love, fancy balls, and loving dreams (and much more Benedict Bridgerton scenes).

Happy promenade!

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