What Beyoncé has accomplished that has set herself apart from the other popstars and performers in today’s music industry is that she is more than just an artist: Beyoncé is a brand. Every announcement, whether personal or professional, is marketed, calculated and planned perfectly. In a world where we are more connected than ever, a poorly worded tweet or even a politically incorrect Halloween costume (when are celebrities going to learn that dressing in black face is NOT COOL?) can spiral into a complete PR disaster for today’s stars. Yet somehow, Beyoncé has consistently emerged unscathed from rumors and gossip thrown her way, and has truly mastered the art of spinning a negative into a positive. Props, girl.
To be perfectly transparent, I’m one of the very few people who actually doesn’t consider herself a Beyoncé fan. I know, blasphemy right? Call me crazy, but aside from her iconic masterpiece “Love on Top” (which we may or may not have played at the Fish holiday party approximately 700 times), I’ve never been the biggest fan of her music. However, that all changed when Lemonade dropped last week – the album is honest, powerful and without a doubt her best work to date. To put it lightly, I’m legitimately obsessed and have had it on repeat day in and day out.
But putting the music aside, what Beyoncé really should be commended for in regards to this album is that it’s an incredibly, mind-blowingly successful marketing ploy. We can all remember the infamous Elevator Incident, where security camera footage was leaked to the media showing Beyoncé’s sister Solange beating the you-know-what out of Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z. Immediately the pop culture world was buzzing with rumors of what could spark the heated conflict, with all signs pointing to Jay-Z cheating. Since Beyoncé is one of the few celebrities powerful enough to refuse to do interviews, the situation went largely unaddressed from her camp, but the rumors never truly went away.
Cue the surprise drop of what only Beyoncé can pull off: an hour-long visual album revealing the truth behind the infidelity rumors and detailing the stages of being the victim of betrayal: anger, revenge, grief, acceptance, and finally forgiveness. Somehow, publically admitting that Jay-Z cheated on Beyoncé has strengthened their position as the music industry’s #1 power couple. When you think of how infidelity has plagued and haunted the careers of other celebrities (tabloids are STILL alleging that Jennifer is not over Brad and Angelina), it makes it that much more remarkable that Beyoncé was able to spin what could have been a major hit to her brand into a profitable and critically acclaimed career move. On that note, here are a few lessons we can learn from a woman who is undoubtedly the smartest marketer in the game.
Make lemons into lemonade: when you spin the story, you control it
Beyoncé and Jay-Z are more than just a famous celebrity couple: their marriage is a business venture, and an extremely profitable one at that. A mistress coming forward and selling her story to People Magazine could have dealt a massive blow to their brand, one that they may or may not have been able to recover from. After all, it’s hard to be the world’s most perfect couple while your dirty laundry is being aired out for all to see. However, Beyoncé’s album was a masterful move as it addressed the rumors, but in a manner that she controlled entirely. Lemonade was not only an admission of Jay-Z’s infidelity: it was their way of showing that, as usual, as the end of the day they came out on top and stronger than ever.
Timing is everything
Less than a week after the surprise release of Lemonade, Beyoncé launched her worldwide Formation Tour in Miami (which my little sister attended, and has been raving about ever since). Considering the fact that Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s joint On The Run tour made them more than $100 million dollars according to Forbes, it’s safe to say Beyoncé knows a thing or two about how to launch a profitable concert tour. There’s no doubt that releasing an album giving rare insight into her private world will drive ticket sales even higher, with people dying to know more about the mysterious world of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. In fact, I would be willing to bet that this tour will surpass On The Run and go down as the most successful tour of all time. As everything she’s done to date, the timing could not be more perfect.
Keep them talking
While Lemonade is without a doubt Beyoncé’s most personal and revealing album to date, she still has people guessing and wanting to know more. To date, two separate women have had to come forth and release statements that they are not “Becky with the good hair.” A brilliant PR stunt not only gets buzz, it maintains buzz and keeps people talking. Check off another box for Beyoncé.
In summation: all hail Beyoncé, the queen of marketing.