At this point in time about a month has past since Beyonce graced us with her new album Lemonade, and what a historical event that was. Using HBO, Her majesty once again managed to change the industry standard for releases, as she had done previously with the surprise drop of her self-titled album in 2013. ‘Homegirl’ is a force to be reckoned with. Not only should fellow musicians take a page from Beyonce’s book, but marketers and brands should consider jotting down a paragraph or two as well.
Beyonce is different.
As one of Pittsburgh’s many digital marketing firms, my company Sparq Designs has forced itself to stick out like a sore thumb. In the words of DJ Khaled, differentiating ourselves from other operations selling the same product is a “major key.” While we see and acknowledge what everyone else is doing, we try to play on what makes us different. We try to emulate this strategy with each client we bring in. We don’t want our pizza company to run the same campaign as another pizza company – even those on a national level. Our focus is to play on their uniqueness, not on their similarities.
Beyonce has been regarded as visual, musical, and a marketing guru, because she does things out of the ordinary – I MEAN HELLO, a pop artist who added a country song to her newest album, that even left Garth Brooks in awe? Tell me the last time Carrie Underwood rapped on one of her albums… I’ll wait.
Beyonce is a leader.
One thing Beyonce doesn’t seem to do is care about what anyone else is doing. She simply uses her talent and looks for the next way to enhance it. She is not your standard pop artist, and in fact, she has expanded pop from a musical medium to a visual one. Remember when music videos were just people bouncing around with guitars, and artists claimed the reason for being so was because it was “meaningful and poetic?” I never understood it, but Beyonce has been able to use these visuals to enhance the overall experience. Other artists, take notes.
The BeyHive is one of the most dedicated fanbases in the world. While other artists tweet their fan bases to buy their albums, or support a cause, Bey’s guides her fans through actions. Back in 2015, Beyonce announced she was focused on maintaining a plant-based diet. Although I’m not certain it’s the BeyHive itself, I’ve noticed a growing interest in veganism, dubbing 2016 #TheYearOfVegan. All of a sudden, we all care about seaweed and cashew cheese? I was just getting back into hot dogs and hamburgers, so thank you Beyonce for taking me off of that.
Beyonce is a storyteller.
We are huge proponents of storytelling in our industry. It’s so important that brands build an emotional connection and meaning with their customers and potential clientele, and Beyonce does a great job of this with her music. Whether or not you choose to believe Jay-Z had an affair and caused problems in the iconic Bey & Jay marriage, Beyonce told her story in “Lemonade” so well that you just had to believe something was true.
Sparq’s Graphic Designer Jenna recently wrote that Disney World builds an emotional connection with their audience. That when a consumer buys tickets to Disney, they’re not just buying admission to theme park – but they are buying an emotional experience. When I tuned into “Lemonade,” (late, mind you) I didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away. The music, the poetry, the visuals all left me stunned. I wish I could put into words how I felt when the final credits rolled. Emotional. Experience.
Beyonce is private and unapologetic.
I cannot tell you how often I stalk the online presence of various brands, and cringe when I see something that doesn’t need to be disclosed. A few years ago, I saw a local company openly share an argument in the comment section of their Facebook page. They went on to talk about every aspect of the verbal altercation that went down in their store that day, and insisted that the customer was wrong, which if any of you know how Facebook works, set fire to a dimly lit candle.
Beyonce causes controversy, as we have seen during her Super Bowl where she appeared to support the Black Panther Movement (I know what some of you are thinking… save it). I think the most important thing was that she just let people say what they wanted to say and never once apologized. In fact, instead of saying, “wow your arguments are valid I should change my ways,” she announced her world tour, ‘Formation.’ While people fought it and opted to protest it, Bey still sold over $100 million dollars in ticket sales, leaving us to question “Is it ALWAYS necessary to apologize for our actions?”
Beyonce gets people talking.
Whether you like her or you don’t, this girl gets people talking and isn’t that everything a brand could want, and more? From a marketing standpoint, I think the element of surprise that comes with Yonce is what gets people going. You just never know what she’s going to do next, and she leaves you wanting more.
When Beyonce surprise dropped her self-titled album, “Beyonce,” no one was expecting it. It reached No. 1 on the charts without shameless self-promotion. Her strategy isn’t to allow people to leak her private photos before her next album is released, nor is it to appear on SNL before her next movie – it’s really just to leave people in shock. For instance, remember in 2014 when she slipped in a pregnancy announcement at the VMAs? She broke the Twitter record with 8,868 tweets per second, all by flashing a quick baby bump. Like GIRL, I have to take to IG the second I get a fresh manicure, how the heck can you keep a BABY a secret from all of us? And so you know, Bin Laden’s death drew 5,106 tweets per second. Just let that sink in.
So whether or not you choose to appreciate Beyonce, her music, and her fandom, a lot can be learned from this woman. While all of us marketers are desperately trying to copy her current strategy, just know that she is planning her next big move. It’s only in our best interest to keep up.
Adele Stewart is a Marketing Account Manager & Designer at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the Sparq team today.