12 Unexpected Marketing Lessons From Fox’s Empire

So you’ve been watching Empire, the addictive primetime soap opera about a music mogul and his family. But did you know that there are some valuable marketing lessons to be learned from the show, too? 

We love to learn new things — especially if they help us reach our customers on an emotional level. 

So, whether you’re a fan of Lucious Lyon or Cookie Lyon (or both!), here are some helpful tips for reaching your own audience through the power of story.

20 Years Of Marketing – 7 Most Important Lessons Learned
Key Takeaways
1. Utilize Cultural Relevance: Learn to leverage current cultural trends and references in your marketing strategies.
2. Embrace Bold Storytelling: Engage your audience with compelling narratives that resonate and captivate.
3. Collaborate for Impact: Partner with influencers or other brands to enhance your marketing reach and impact.
4. Customer Empowerment: Empower your customers by involving them in interactive campaigns and decisions.
5. Authenticity Matters: Maintain an authentic brand voice that aligns with your target audience’s values.
6. Adapt to Change: Stay flexible and adapt your marketing approaches to evolving trends and consumer preferences.
7. Visual Storytelling: Utilize visual content, such as videos and images, to tell your brand’s story effectively.
8. Engage with Controversy: Strategically address relevant controversies to spark conversations and interest.
9. Data-Driven Decisions: Make informed marketing decisions by analyzing data and consumer insights.
10. Emotional Connection: Build emotional connections with your audience through relatable and resonant content.
11. Multi-Channel Approach: Reach a wider audience by utilizing various marketing channels and platforms.
12. Long-Term Branding: Focus on building a lasting brand identity that evolves and grows over time.

1. Always Tell A Story

As you read this, you’re probably thinking about how storytelling has been a crucial part of marketing for years now. 

That’s true but in the same way that your favorite song is still new even after you’ve listened to it hundreds of times, the power of storytelling is one we never lose sight of. 

And as an entrepreneur or marketer who values creativity and innovation, there are lots of ways that storytelling can help your business succeed:

Storytelling helps connect with customers on an emotional level. Customers want brands they can trust; they want a brand that connects with them on an emotional level by telling stories about themselves (like “I used this product because I’m just like my father”). 

Stories have been used since ancient times as a means to tell people what not only happened but why it mattered and today’s marketers know this too well! 

From Fox’s Empire creating characters who feel like family members (and making us believe in their struggles) to Apple’s affordable Macs being more than just computers (they’re tools for creative expression).

Marketers love using stories because we know how important it is for people to feel connected and cared for by our products before we try selling them anything at all.

Building a strong foundation for your marketing strategy is essential. Explore our comprehensive guide on direct marketing for creative professionals to learn valuable insights that can enhance your approach.

2. Don’t Wait For Recognition

You don’t need to wait for someone to recognize you or your work. In fact, if you’re not getting recognition, that’s actually a sign that you’re doing it right.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you what the next big thing is. If there’s something on your mind that no one else has done yet, go ahead and do it! 

You can always ask for advice from others along the way, but don’t rely on their approval or feedback when it comes time for execution. It will only slow down progress and prevent growth in its tracks.

In marketing terms: Don’t hate the player; hate the game. 

When we talked about competition earlier in this article, we said that competing against each other creates healthy marketplaces where everyone wins by offering customers better value than any other competitor could ever offer them individually (or even collectively). 

We also said that while competition with competitors is inevitable (and necessary), we should be careful not to let our hatred of competitors prevent us from seeing opportunities in other areas of our business where collaboration might be more fruitful than confrontation.

Like when two companies decide they both want to enter into an exclusive partnership instead of competing against one another directly.”

3. Know Your Competition

One of the most important marketing lesson from Fox’s Empire is to know your competition. The show portrays a competitive atmosphere between rappers that makes viewers want to tune in every week. 

The series also takes a look at how these artists deal with their own personal struggles, which gives viewers an honest look into lives outside of the spotlight. 

Many people watch this show because they want a chance at those same opportunities and challenges that they see on television.

It’s important for brands to have a good understanding of their audience as well. 

Understanding your audience means knowing what they like and dislike about your product or service, but it also means understanding why they like or dislike certain things about it and what needs improvement.

Marketing is all about constant improvement. Discover 16 actionable tips you can implement today to level up your marketing game and achieve better results.

4. Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game

I’ve been in the advertising industry for over a decade now, and I’ve seen my fair share of people who get jealous or frustrated when their competition outperforms them. It’s natural to feel this way; we’re all human, after all. 

But it’s important to remember that there’s no point in hating on your competitors! Instead, focus on what you can do to improve your own business so that it performs better than theirs does.

It doesn’t matter if they have more followers on social media than you do what matters is whether or not customers are buying from you because of their advertising campaigns (and not just because they follow them). 

If they’re getting more sales than you are, then there must be something about their marketing strategy that works better than yours does and if there’s one thing marketers know how to do well, it’s copy things that work well for others!

5. Listen To Customers

This lesson is simple, and yet so often overlooked. Listen to your customers.

Here’s what I mean: listen to what they say, listen to what they do (and don’t do), and then finally for the win listen to what they say and also don’t say.

This last one is really important; it’s how you learn which areas of your product or service are working well and which aren’t. 

It’s also key for knowing how you can improve upon a given aspect of your offering without people being able to tell that something has changed or been improved on.

Being a successful marketer requires mastering key skills. Find out why the most important skill for a freelance marketer is crucial for your success in the dynamic world of marketing.

6. Collaborate With People You Trust

You can’t do it alone.

Collaboration is important. It’s also not always easy, because the people you work with aren’t always going to be nice or polite or trust you implicitly. 

You’re dealing with different personalities and skill sets and goals, so collaboration takes a lot of patience – which is probably why Empire has been able to create such an incredible team in its first two seasons.

7. “Cookie” Time Can Be A Good Thing

The second lesson is a variation on the first: social media can be used to bring you out of the shadows, show your personality and connect with customers.

For example, Empire’s use of Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) catchphrase “Cookie” has become so popular that it was added to Urban Dictionary as an entry for “foxy.” 

But this wasn’t just a marketing ploy; it was also a way for Fox and its advertisers to show off their brand personality and engage with fans in a fun way.

The best part? The campaign worked because it wasn’t just some random thing they came up with once it had meaning behind it. 

For example, the Cookie page on Twitter is run by Taraji P Henson herself! It’s our favorite kind of marketing: authentic communication between people who care about each other (and want them to buy stuff).

8. Be Authentic And Honest

Authenticity is the most important quality when it comes to making connections with customers, and honesty is how you demonstrate that authenticity. 

It can be tough to be real when you’re trying to sell a product or service, but it pays off in the long run because people want they want: transparency from brands they trust.

Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes

The best way to learn from your mistakes? Admit them! This mantra has been around since Shakespeare first penned Hamlet’s famous line: “To err is human.” 

If an apology is due, make sure everyone hears it whether it’s on social media or through traditional methods like press releases or news articles (and not just as clickbait). 

You’ll earn some goodwill along with forgiveness for any previous indiscretions and who knows? Maybe someone else will learn some valuable lessons from watching you own up to your blunders!

Attracting visitors to your website is a fundamental aspect of effective marketing. Dive into our advice on better attracting visitors to your website and learn techniques to increase your online visibility.

9. Be Yourself — And Be Sure To Integrate Your Brand Values In Everything You Do

The second lesson we can learn from Empire is to be yourself and be sure to integrate your brand values into everything you do. Let’s start by considering what a brand is. 

A brand is essentially a promise, or set of promises, that it makes to its audience about the experience they will have interacting with it. 

One of the most important elements of this experience is authenticity and honesty; if you are authentic and honest in all aspects of your business, then it will come through in every interaction with your customers and prospects.

This means being consistent across channels: whether you are writing copy for your website, creating videos on YouTube or Instagram Stories, posting on Facebook or Twitter…

You must be consistent across all mediums so that each piece reinforces the core promise(s) that make up the overarching theme of your brand narrative. 

You also need consistency within individual pieces themselves: when creating an ad campaign (or any other type of marketing content), there should always be some sort of unifying theme connecting each piece.

So that viewers get a sense that everything fits together well as part of one big story rather than separate entities tangentially related only by coincidence (like how two unrelated movies might both happen to feature dinosaurs).

10. Make Sure Everyone Has A Job To Do — Even The Kids!

As the head of your company, it’s up to you to make sure everyone has a job to do. It doesn’t matter if that person is an administrative assistant or a sales executive; everyone needs to be clear on their role and responsibilities in order for the organization as a whole to succeed.

Empowering employees isn’t just about giving them the tools they need or giving them some autonomy it means making sure they’re doing what they need to do well. 

It means teaching them how best to handle their responsibilities, encouraging them when things get difficult, reminding them when deadlines are approaching so they don’t fall behind schedule… 

All of these things can help create loyal employees who know that the company cares about providing opportunities for growth and development within their careers (and lives).

11. Align Your Marketing With Your Audience’s Passions And Let Them Feel A Connection To Your Products/Services

If you want to engage your audience, you have to understand them. To do this, look at what they’re passionate about and how they feel about the product/service you provide. Use social media as a way to engage with your customers and potential customers on a personal level. 

By posting photos of staff members at work and talking about the day-to-day operations of the company, you can give people a sense of who runs things behind the scenes and make them feel like they’re part of something when they buy from your company.

12. Engage Through Emotion — And Empower People To Talk About How They Feel About You

When you want to connect with people, it’s always best to start with emotions. “We need to be able to talk about how we feel first,” said [Marketing Expert] Dr. Brené Brown. “If we can’t talk about how we feel, then we’re not really connected with ourselves.”

There are more effective ways of getting someone excited about a product or service than by showing off features and benefits (though they’re still useful). Instead of saying.

“Here are all the reasons why our product is better than our competitor’s” or “Here’s why this experience will be so much fun for you,” try instead starting with an emotion: let them know what your business stands for and why it matters. 

Then, explain how those values translate into what makes your brand special. 

If you’re trying to sell something that isn’t inherently emotional like an office chair you’ll have more success if you use an emotional angle instead of just listing all its features independently from each other in isolation from any larger context or meaning behind them; 

This could include talking about how many hours per week people spend sitting on chairs at work and why it matters if those chairs aren’t comfortable enough (and thus cause fatigue), for example; if not that specifically then something else along those lines!

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication in marketing. Discover why marketing isn’t scary or complicated as we break down how consistency, reliability, and simplicity drive successful marketing strategies.


Empire is a show where the central mission is to sell music. But what’s so beautiful about it is that they don’t just tell the story of Empire’s artists and their music. 

They also tell the story of Lucious Lyon and his empire, Cookie Lyon and her comeback, Jamal Lyon’s fight for creativity, Hakeem Lyon’s pursuit of fame, Andre Lyon’s desperate grasp at success, and so on.

Further Reading

Academic Study on Business Expansion: Explore an academic study discussing strategies and considerations for business expansion and growth in diverse markets.

From Entertainment to Empire: The Walt Disney Story: Dive into the journey of how Walt Disney’s entertainment empire evolved, examining key financial and strategic factors that contributed to its growth.

Empire TV Series on IMDb: Check out the IMDb page for the TV series “Empire” to learn more about its cast, plot, ratings, and viewer reviews.


What is the main focus of the academic study on business expansion?

The academic study explores various strategies and considerations related to business expansion, providing insights into how companies can successfully grow and establish themselves in diverse markets.

How did Walt Disney’s entertainment empire transform over time?

The article delves into the evolution of Walt Disney’s entertainment empire, highlighting the financial and strategic factors that played a role in its transformation from a modest venture to a global entertainment powerhouse.

Where can I find more information about the TV series “Empire”?

For detailed information about the TV series “Empire,” including its cast, plot, ratings, and viewer reviews, you can visit the IMDb page dedicated to the show.

What are the key takeaways from the academic study on business growth?

The academic study provides valuable insights into the intricacies of business growth, offering readers a deeper understanding of the strategies, challenges, and opportunities that come with expanding into new markets.

What can I learn from the article about Walt Disney’s journey to an empire?

The article examines the financial and strategic decisions that contributed to Walt Disney’s transition from a small entertainment venture to a sprawling empire, shedding light on lessons that can be applied to business expansion and success.