How Your Brand Can Slay Like Bey
Beyoncé is more than a flawless entertainer, musical icon or powerful businesswoman, she is a movement. This year’s Formation World Tour proves it -- it’s already inspired millions of fans to sing, dance, dress and most importantly, to think like Beyoncé, adopting her belief system that women rule. As I caught myself mouthing the words of “Hold Up” at her recent Citi Field performance, I couldn’t help but think her transcendence from Destiny’s Child front woman to the Queen Bee serves as a powerful lesson for any business looking to build their brand.
Like Beyoncé, a great brand stands for something. It’s an ethos that mobilizes its audience to join, engage and sing or belt in this case, its mantra from the rooftops. But transforming your company’s brand from a product into a philosophy is a challenging proposition. Having been in the marketing business for some time, I know that becoming the Beyoncé of brands is no easy feat. Here are takeaways from my night with Bey.
Get in formation.
Beyoncé’s Formation performance is an example of living the brand. In it, she brings her vision of activism to life and sparks a cultural conversation. That visual anthem resonates because it’s authentic and unique to Beyoncé, yet makes a statement relevant to today’s major social issues.
However you feel about the message, as marketers it should evoke emotion. Discover how your brand relates to a larger narrative and then find ways to tell that story in an engaging way. In doing so, you will identify and interact with consumers that would have otherwise been outside of your original customer base.
Consider creating a consistent call to action that guides your customers to the same desired outcome regardless of the original channel that spurred their interest. It’s as simple as thinking of your brand as a complete aesthetic -- every detail has importance and a role to play.
Make your BeyHive buzz.
Just one day after Lemonade aired, Twitter noticed a huge spike in the use of bee and lemon emojis. Beyoncé’s album and documentary created an event people couldn’t help but talk about when it aired and that same buzz continues to grow today.
Lemonade’s viral sensation demonstrated that social media is where conversation lives and culture is made. Make it a priority to meet your consumers on the channels they love. Think of who your audience is, what they care about, and the content that they crave. Explore social channels that cater to specific audiences like Pinterest and Snapchat. Sponsored ads or paid influencer programs are excellent ways to reach huge swaths of potential customers.
It’s also important to explore media that can spark the social conversation. From billboards to online content channels, there are many options at your disposal. Does your customer base mostly consist of urbanites? Consider doing a brand activation within a subway system that repeatedly captures rider’s attention. Always be on the lookout for advertising opportunities that transcend beyond the traditional and engage your customers in new, exciting ways.
Bey isn’t a musician, she’s a lifestyle.
Admittedly, Beyoncé’s resources and star quality may seem like an unfair comparison for today’s scrappy start-ups. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much Glam Squads and Givenchy wardrobes can do. Beyoncé’s impact comes from what she says, as much as how she says it. Her story spans mediums and impacts fans in many ways outside of music.
That’s an important lesson for us all to remember when planning campaigns -- brands can live outside their means. There are many tools and opportunities to boost your brand organically beyond advertisements or commercials. Programs like creating original content, engaging in social conversations, holding webinars, etc. offer brands ways to communicate a richer, more expansive narrative. Plus, many are absolutely free.
When these tools are used in concert, brands can create larger footprints for their audiences to engage with. Consider the fact that although Beyonce is a musician by trade, she engages her fan base in far more ways than song alone. Brands can do the same by providing their customers with a variety of brand connections they crave. Give your fans what they want and make your brand slay.
Jodi Senese is Chief Marketing Officer at OUTFRONT Media, where she oversees all aspects of the company’s marketing efforts, including an in-house creative boutique that helps businesses large and small create unique digital brand experiences. With over thirty years of experience, Senese is a marketing expert in the out-of-home advertising industry and has held positions as Executive Vice President/Marketing at CBS Outdoor, Executive Vice President/Marketing at TDI and Vice President/Marketing at Gannett Outdoor.