3 PR Lessons We Can Learn from Beyonce
Few celebrities are famous enough to get away with using just one name. Madonna, Sting, Adele are a few of the elite. But since bursting on to the music scene over 15 years ago, Beyoncé has joined the ranks of the mononym brigade, thanks to bags of raw talent, perseverance and some savvy PR.
With six No. 1 albums and 53 Grammy nominations under her belt, Beyoncé is admired by fans and fellow artists as one of the most talented and influential performers of the 21st century. But not only is she a world-class singer and performer, she’s also a master of public relations.
Here are some valuable PR lessons we can learn from this global superstar, both on and off the stage:
Be prepared to take creative risks
Imagine preparing to launch a new product in a shroud of secrecy, where no-one outside of the few people working on it knows it even exists. No PR leading up to the launch. Just releasing it one random day in December. This is exactly what Beyoncé did in 2013 to launch her self-titled 14-track album.
Launched exclusively on iTunes, this campaign relied on the element of surprise. But despite no warning or pre-promotion, she managed to create more buzz than most artists do with a traditional album launch. In fact, she sold 828,773 copies in three days and ‘broke the internet’. It was a risk, but it paid off.
Tip: Risks are scary. You never know how people will respond. But for brands that are daring, the payoff can be huge. Just make sure you don’t jump into something haphazardly. Plan it out, cover your bases and have a little fun. It can be a great way to separate your brand from your competitors.
Build a loyal fan base to help tell your story
The Beyhive, as Beyonce’s fans are known, are some of the most loyal brand evangelists out there. They help spread the word about all things Beyoncé without being asked. Beyoncé also makes a point, whether through her blog or on social media, to acknowledge her fans and let them know she’s grateful for their support.
Tip: Naturally, brands need customers to exist. But there’s a difference between a single advocate and a strong, loyal fan base. Building a loyal following can be a huge contributor to your success. But keep in mind that doing so is not a one-way street. Only those brands that make an effort to have a true relationship with customers will establish the loyalty factor. Be involved on a regular basis, whether it’s engaging with followers on social media, or offering fans exclusive giveaways; show your customers they’re a valuable part of your brand.
Tell your story, your way
One of the things Beyoncé is known for is her ability to keep her personal life private. But in a celebrity obsessed world, that’s a lot easier said than done.
Despite this, she manages to maintain control of her image, most of the time. When the occasional thing does slip out, Beyoncé responds in her own way. For example, as rumours grew about marriage troubles with Jay Z, she posted a series of pictures wearing a Mrs Carter sweatshirt as well as a loving picture of Jay Z and their daughter Blue Ivy. It was a quietly loud way of saying, ‘We’re good, thanks.’
Tip: As a public-facing brand, it’s hard to have full control over what’s being said about you. The good news is that with social media, brands have the opportunity to respond directly to the public and media. They no longer have to rely on gatekeepers to tell their side of the story for them. Be open and honest, and you’ll have more control over your image.