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September 7th, 2016 Blog
Anyone who knows me, knows I love me some Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter. I had to call her full name so you know that the love is real. However this isn’t a why I love Beyoncé blog, this is a why Beyoncé’s brand works blog.
Over the last couple of years, there has been an influx of negative press and commentary about Beyoncé (straight haters, in my opinion). Whether it was her counterparts in the industry, non-fans, police chiefs or entire police departments there has been an uproar when her name is mentioned. I believe it’s because Beyoncé’s brand has grown into a massive empire. Mentioned in songs and TV shows, her name is used as an adjective and as a standard for many to compare other pop stars.
How has her brand grown you ask? One word comes to mind when referencing Queen Bey, CONSISTENCY.
Since her days as Destiny’s Child unofficial front woman, Beyoncé has remained consistent on all fronts. With six solo albums released each of which has entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number one, she is the first and only act to have their first six albums all reach number one and for her first six albums debuted at the top of the charts as well . She continues to push limits and sets standards in the industry. Since the 90’s she has dominated mainstream media and recently let her true southern roots take the forefront of her career. Not withstanding, she continues this consistency in four distinct ways.
1. Live Performances: Brand Promise
Where Beyoncé excels the most (and the real reason why her brand is huge in my opinion) is her live performance. From the first beat drop, to the very end, she captures your attention and takes you along for the ride (That woman knows how to own a stage). I’ve watched many of her live performances and there are not many, if any, that I can honestly say were terrible. Many artists lack the attention grabbing abilities that Beyoncé portrays so well. I have to credit the legends that came before her whom she drew most of her inspiration. Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner are her biggest influences and you can see it, in the way she performs. All of the aforementioned can probably be found in the top entertainers of all time. Actually, in my opinion, they would be the top 4 and Beyoncé would be number 5.
Prime examples of her consistency are her 2016 BET Awards performance and the recent 2016 VMA mini concert. (Seriously! She performed 16 minutes of ‘Lemonade’) She wasn’t announced with either award show’s lists of performers, she just sort of just showed up and performed. On both occasions she set the bar high for those who followed her. E! News and Rolling Stone both wrote articles of high praise about her VMA performance. “Has Beyoncé ever met a stage she couldn’t dominate? The answer is officially no,” asked and answered by E! News writer Samantha Schnurr. “[Beyoncé’s] ‘Lemonade’ medley highlighted an otherwise charisma-free show,” said Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone. Her consistent high-energy performance model is one reason her brand is big.
2. Controls The Narrative: Public Relations
When I say control the narrative, I mean she doesn’t allow her dirty laundry to be aired everywhere. Ever since she’s been a star we’ve had to speculate anything related to Beyoncé, unless Beyoncé herself gave a nod. We found out through the grapevine that Jay Z and she united in holy matrimony. There were no pictures, candids or video from the wedding. They’ve been married 8 years as of April 2016, and she just allowed us to see photos and videos from their special day. She doesn’t engage in silly feuds, tabloid drama, and other shenanigans that tend to self-destruct brands. The very public Kardashian-West wedding wasn’t attended by Jay & she because of the plan to air the wedding on Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Since parting ways with her father as her manager, she address rumors through song, video, and tour interludes. On the 2013 leg of her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, there is a video interlude that addresses the negative and nasty comments people say about her. Each dancer, accompanied with a voice over, would reenact the rumor or allegation about Beyoncé, but instead of her actually replying or saying anything about the rumors, she proceeds to perform a Texas size rendition of ‘Bow Down.’ Basically a big “forget you” to the haters.
With her 2016 hit ‘Formation’ she addresses age-old Illuminati rumors and comments on her baby’s hair. Instead of taking to social media, Tumblr and/or her website, she addresses the situation, gives you new topics of conversation.
3. Maximized Appeal: Brand Building
Back in 2013, iTunes had the “exclusive of the century” with her self-titled album being sold only on their service. She eventually went on to break and set records with the iTunes exclusive. The appeal of a Beyoncé exclusive is so massive, that Target opted not sell the singer’s 2013 self-titled album due to the lack of demand they felt it would cause since iTunes secured the album first. (Crazy, I know.)
In 2016, she’s taken the conversation to a new level and maximized her mainstream appeal. Since the release of ‘Formation,’ back in February, she has infiltrated the 24-hour news cycle and has remained there for the last four months. She released the video to Formation exclusively on Tidal, of which she is part owner. So, hearing that Beyoncé just released a new video on the heels of us hearing that she’d once again perform halftime at Super Bowl 50 was major news.
Tidal hasn’t seen the brightest of days, but with the exclusive release of Formation (and eventually her 6th studio album ‘Lemonade’) the sun started to shine on the streaming service. Beyoncé continued to dominate the news cycle by performing ‘Formation’ during Super Bowl haf time and announced the Formation World Tour (which will be in Nashville October 2nd). The entire time all this new Beyoncé news was being released, Beyoncé was silent. In her typical fashion, no press, no interviews and no promotion followed any of the announcements
Since the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy, she has limited the amount of in-depth interviews she does. She released an exclusive documentary to HBO titled ‘Life is But a Dream,’ which chronicles the singers journey after her big night at the 2010 GRAMMY awards up until her return to the stage, post giving birth. The documentary, she executive produced, was the most candid she had ever been publicly. Most footage she filmed on her laptop and with a professional camera she owned. So her first interview in years… was a big deal.
4. Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Brand Promise
Beyoncé has consistently demanded, through her actions, that the industry follow her. She changed the way albums have been released and when they’re released, especially with her release of two visual albums. She’s changed how albums are viewed through her visual process and where albums are release with her exclusive deals with iTunes, HBO & Tidal. Beyoncé’s brand has grown because she controls the conversation at every turn. (You know you that b**** when you cause all this conversation…those are her words, not mine) = )!
It’s interesting to see how she continues to maximize her brand, especially with the number of years she’s been in the industry. I know we can expect her to continue working hard and more grinding ‘til she owns it cause she slays. Her brand is the strongest it’s ever been. Her unannounced performance at the VMA’s garnered over 1 million tweets and earned her the most tweeted celebrity of the night. I’m excited to see what record Beyoncé breaks next.
(Happy Belated Birthday Beyonce & YES! I will be at the concert in Nashville on Oct. 2nd)