Before you dismiss this as clickbait, I would like to caveat that these are not the ramblings of an obsessive fan, rather those of a fascinated marketer.
While Beyonce’s brand has nearly always been on point, her content strategy has switched up significantly of late, allowing her to redefine herself in a way that’s fresh, relevant and authentic. Some brands paid up to $5M for a 30 second Super Bowl spot earlier this year but who were we all talking about afterwards? To use her own vernacular, Bey slayed it.
So, in case you’ve been in the middle of a self-imposed digital detox, the Beyhive recently released Lemonade and the internet lost its sh*t. Billed as “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing” it can’t really be distilled as such. Part album, part film, part autobiography, part virtual exhibit – it’s like nothing we’ve seen from her before. Or from anyone else.
Whatever you think about the subject matter – a multi-layered discourse on relationships, identity and black women – there can be no denying that as content, this is her boldest move yet. So what can brands learn from Queen Bey?
Bow down, b*tches
While here is not the space to debate Beyonce’s political views, there can be no denying that she has something to say that is both deeply personal and rooted in issues that her audience can relate to. It can be scary to engage in a dialogue that could potentially provoke reaction or criticism, but brands only talking about what interests them is boring at best. When it comes to killer content, have a point of view. Or be ignored. The choice is yours.
Beyoncé has bravely bucked the ‘TV is dead’ trend with the premiere of her long-form film on HBO, in turn reigniting our appetite for another forgotten format – the album. Lemonade was also cleverly teased six months ago on Instagram, followed by the surprise premiere of ‘Formation’ at the Super Bowl, and finally the trailer which sent everyone into a speculative spin. With this in mind, brands should always think about how the story can be phased for maximum impact and consider the best format and platform for what they want to say at each stage.
Who run the world?
That would be your audience. And in this case they like to stream. But there’s only 3 million of them on Tidal. Commercial arguments aside – Beyoncé has a personal stake in JZ’s service – it would seem that this isn’t such a savvy move. There’s no point creating something brilliant if the people you want to reach can’t access it easily. When it comes to content, this is easily forgotten by brands. Your audience expects you to be where they are, not where your channel plan says they should be.
So in brief, brands need to have a point of view, take a storytelling approach that considers which format is best at each stage of the journey and most importantly, be where their audience is.
Photo credit: Gabu Camacho