Where The Apprentice candidates went wrong

Last night, parent company, Global Personals, featured on BBC series, The Apprentice.

Tasked with creating a niche online dating brand, our Senior Designers, Jon and Lucy, brought the candidates websites to life, whilst Commercial Development Director, Richard Gale, advised Lord Sugar on the sites predicted market performance.

The Apprentice

Team Evolve, who worked with Global Personals designer, Lucy, created ‘Friendship & Flowers’, aiming their site at the mature dating market, specifically, the over 50s. Team Endeavour, working with Global Personals designer, Jon, spawned ‘Cufflinks’ and targeted the young professional market. The feedback they received wasn’t great, so here’s where we think they went wrong.

They set themselves off to a bad start with poor targeting. The mature dating market is huge and increasingly densely populated. If you want your mature online dating site to stand out, you need to have a solid brand that really connects with your audience.

The advert was cringeworthy and the branding showed little knowledge of its target audience, completely ignoring the market research. The rise of the silver surfer benchmarks over 50s as tech savvy and active online daters; they’re looking for fun, love and romance, not a wilted bunch of daffodils.

It’s also important to consider how well your brand will perform in a search engine – something the candidates failed to consider. It’s all very well creating a site with a lovely name like ‘Friendship and Flowers’, but assuming certain potential members don’t see your TV advert, how else are they likely to find it? The best site names also make the best domain names. Something like Just Senior Singles is the perfect example of this.

Their branding was inconsistent. As hilarious as the advert for ‘Cufflinks’ was, with Herbert creeping about in the background, it did not aptly represent its young professional audience. Whilst the design of the site was relatively slick and appropriately targeted, the advert did not follow through – there was a complete disconnect from the core branding. An inconsistent consumer journey doesn’t equal registrations; with a marketplace as competitive as online dating, a solid, defining, brand is essential.

The Apprentice sites

So there are our initial thoughts. What are yours?

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