Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why Steve Harvey is winning right now


Comedian Steve Harvey is honored on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on May 13, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Steve Harvey may not be your favorite comedian, author, radio personality, TV show host, fashion label head or throwback mustache-haver, but he is clearly doing something right because just about everything he’s done has turned into major success.The dimpled daytime darling is doing particularly well with women 18-49 years old. The show beat out all the other new daytime shows in that demographic when it debuted last fall.
The team behind the man
Daytime television is generally geared towards women and women have been the driving force behind Harvey’s best-selling relationship advice books, so it’s no surprise that his readers have turned into viewers.  But how is it that a three-times married, twice divorced comedian who offers condescending gems like Act like a Lady, Think Like a Man stays adding zeros to his bank account?
One major part of Steve Harvey’s ongoing success is his team. I covered his Hoodie Awards in Las Vegas a couple years ago for a work assignment and I was blown away by the event’s efficiency and spot on offerings for their target demographic.
Case in point: cash bar, hot wings and all white everything.  Harvey’s team had transformed a convention hall into an expo featuring dozens of vendors (including Harvey’s line of hats) and a concert space. Frankie Beverly and Maize closed out the weekend with a performance and of course all of your aunts and uncles wore their crisp white for the occasion.
But Steve Harvey’s team took it a step further by turning the middle of the convention center space into a cash bar that also sold hot wings. So here you had all of these middle-aged, working/middle class, black people doing the Electric Slide in all white with a beer in one hand and a paper plate of hot wings in the other.  That might not be your cup of tea, but the attendees loved it and Harvey’s team knew exactly how to cater to that demographic.
Solid marketing research plus the ability to execute an informed plan equals success for the Harvey squad.  There is no other way to explain Harvey’s ability to become a relationship guru overnight.  You have to be pretty forward-thinking to even suggest a leap from comedian to Oprah-esque fawning from black women in terms of advice much less successfully make that happen.
Funny can take you a long way
Another big factor in Harvey’s never-ending trips to the bank is that he’s actually funny and he seems to be one of those naturally funny people. If he were a shoe salesman, he would be cracking up all of the customers and probably getting a few extra sales or two off of it.
Same theory applies to his career. Funny can take you a long way.  If you can make someone laugh, that person will likely stick around for a bit longer, which gives you the opportunity to offer up your books/movies/zoot suits and the like.
Harvey is perfect as the host of Family Feud and I’ve probably watched the Original Kings of Comedy at least 15 times. His ability to make me laugh does not make me want to take heed to any of his relationship advice (which swings from “duh” to obnoxiously sexist), but then again I’m not the target demographic.  I can’t take any advice from someone who doesn’t believe in the basic concept of evolution. 
The thing that keeps Harvey winning more than anything, though, is his willingness to get out there and try different things with his career.  He’s had a #1 movie at the box office, best-selling books, sold out tours, and top-rated television shows. This man is a machine.  I abhor his relationship advice, but I’m in awe of his hustle. We could all probably benefit from being a little more Steve Harvey-like in our careers.

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