Kooza! 3 Lessons from Cirque Du Soleil on How To Turn Your Marketing Into Magic

lessons from our LAB

June 13, 2012

Kooza! 3 Lessons from Cirque Du Soleil on How To Turn Your Marketing Into Magic

Our Digital Scientists are made up of tech-loving, results-oriented, passionate, digital marketing nerds who have an unnatural obsession with all things digital. Most likely seen glued to a screen and spewing new digital marketing trends.

The circus is in town! Cirque Du Soleil returned to Arizona for the first time in over 5 years with sold out performances for its opening weekend of Kooza in Glendale, Arizona. The amazing big-top touring show combined with the savvy marketing of the Montreal- based Cirque Du Soleil, this is an event that you will hear about and talk about - if you haven’t already.

About the show KOOZA:

KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions - acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. It tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world. The show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTA6BfiBsow [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTA6BfiBsow]

I had the fortunate experience of attending opening night on Friday June 8th for my very first Cirque Du Soleil show, as well as being part of the marketing street team promoting the can’t miss Kooza shows here for the month of June.

The show was truly a breathtaking and heart stopping experience that lead me to categorize it as #AHighlightLifeExperience on my Instagram post. Cirque Du Soleil is known for its acrobatic shows, however Kooza lived up to the hype I received from one of the Marketing Managers, Nancy Mancini, from their Montreal International Headquarters as being “the most acrobatic of all the Cirque Du Soleil shows!”

Of the dozens of companies, products, movies, and events that I have promoted this was easily one of the most exciting and well-thought experiential marketing campaigns that I have been a part of. This experience taught me a great deal about how to connect with and inspire your audience and build lasting relationships.

Here are three marketing lessons I learned and that I think, by embracing, you could also use to improve your marketing performance.

1) Be True To Your Purpose

In the business and startup world we often hear about the importance of discovering and supporting your company’s purpose. However, this is also something that often falls off the priority list for overwhelmed business owners, and even agency owners who try to improve their clients’ growth. The philosophies of Cirque Du Soleil run throughout its veins and are just as apparent in its marketing strategies as they are in its performances.

Cirque Du Soleil's mission statement embodies the purpose that they deliver with all of their actions: “To invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world.”

With everything they do - from their performances, their website, to creative designs, advertising, and more - Cirque Du Soleil stays true to its purpose and creates a stimulating experience to engage its audience.

Since the company was founded in 1984, more than 100 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil show and close to 15 million people are expected to see a Cirque du Soleil show in 2012. This is a company that has clearly stayed grounded to its values and they are now living their purpose as they have evoked the emotions of millions of people around the world.

2) Be Innovative & Strategic

As a company who has made a name for reinventing the circus and bringing it back to life, Cirque Du Soleil lives and breathes innovation. In a Forbes article, Cirque Du Soleil Shows Big Brands How To Be Remarkable And Magical, the President and CEO of Cirque Du Soleil Daniel Lamarre describes its strategic approach to creating the “circus of the future.”

“If you want to do a breakthrough, don’t look around – look ahead... and within.”

The critical challenge for most companies, is that this only works if a brand and its employees are connected to this belief. In the case of Cirque Du Soleil, innovation is a core component of its DNA, seen in a job description that lists “a willingness to push limits” as a requirement.

Though some companies may think that adding “Innovative” or “Strategic” to a job posting is enough, I have further learned from my experience with StringCan that a company can foster this spirit through its internal actions. In my first two weeks here I was presented a task to complete a vision boarding project and in-depth Interview to cultivate that side of me, as well as started an extensive 12-week training program to additionally align me with the values of the company.

It is this kind of passion that helps connect employees with their personal goals and the goals of their clients to produce brilliant results. I am confident that at Cirque Du Soleil their internal practices are no different with all of their staff, except for the possibility of their team also having to learn to trapeze 50-feet in the air.

3) Create Advocates Of Your Fans

One of the most impressive moments I had through my experience working with Cirque Du Soleil was the opening night of the Kooza show in Arizona. As I was walking into the big-top tent at the University of Phoenix parking lot I was filled with excitement to be attending my first Cirque Du Soleil show.

Upon entering the tent I was greeted by host with trays full of free appetizers that were both appealing in presentation and taste. With the addition of free conc essions, champagne, cupcakes, and more I was blown away by their generosity! By going above and beyond what was expected, they were able to make all of us in attendance instantly become loyal advocates of the Cirque Du Soleil brand. Of course in today's social world many of us couldn't wait to share our experience with all of our friends and family!

This was by far what many could consider the most preposterous business practice ever, however I saw it as one of the smartest and most strategic marketing ideas ever. Why? Because they focused their effort on one the most important and valuable marketing target = their current customers.

Imagine what kind of word of mouth marketing this decision created for them for the rest of the time they are on tour here in the Valley. A bold move and a valuable lesson for many other business owners and marketers trying to grow their following of advocates and turn greater profits in their season.


Though you may not be swinging from the trapeze just yet, you can learn a thing or two on how to better juggle your marketing mix in a more strategic manner to make your client’s jaws drop! Through passion, innovation, and going above and beyond your business can do more than just succeed, it can be the best.

Tell us how you connect with your customers in creative and innovative ways!

Also, don't forget to check out Kooza this month. The show will be in town until July 8, 2012. Check out the Cirque Du Soleil site for tickets and come back to share your Kooza experience in our comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Image by Cherilyn Stringer via Flickr CC




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A thanks to Theresa and Kevin for reading the draft and helping with edits.

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