If you haven't already heard or seen, Beyonce Knowles the artist, released a new single last week, performed during halftime at Superbowl 50, and consequently announced an upcoming stadium tour all within the span of 48hrs. Coincidence, I think not. The truth is Beyonce and her marketing team have their pulse on the heartbeat of the music business, branding, marketing, and sales. They have strategically done in less than 2 days what it takes many businesses to achieve in a lifetime, and while Beyonce has been recently criticized for her lyrical style and reinvention. One can not dismiss the business and marketing acumen that has catapulted her to levels that extend far beyond the harmonies and beats of a song. Much like her surprise album release at midnight in 2013, Beyonce didn't just drop a single, she created a disruption in the music industry yet, again.
Here are 5 Business Lessons I Learned in a Week From Beyonce.
1. Create a Cause- Beyonce's single Formation is not just another song about love, girl power, and femininity. Released during Black History Month, the song touches on racial issues that have plagued our nation from police brutality, Hurricane Katrina, black women, wealth, and the highly publicized shootings of young black men. The Formation video demonstrates a stunning imagery of power, political and social injustices, combined with one's love for self and community. Additionally, Beyonce seems to exhibit a down to earthness that hasn't been displayed before. Lyrically she describes herself in a way that is relatable and accessible. When you have the capacity to create visibility to a social cause on a large platform and still come off like the girl next door (and by that I mean the one with bamboo earrings at least two pair) people are immediately drawn to you. Even if you weren't a fan before, well you just might be now.
2. Create Anticipation- Approximately 24 hours before Beyonce's schedule halftime show appearance, The Formation video and single were released free to the public. The business strategy here was sheer genius. Not only was there a new level of expectation set for the show, there was a new level of anticipation centered around the message as well. Would the show which is typically pure entertainment now be used to create social impact or would she play it safe and sing something more politically correct? Even more exciting was the fan expectancy, a new album, another tour, both? Was there more to this story and if so what exactly would it be? Creating anticipation in your fans/clients/customers feeds the their deepest emotions and leads to high levels of engagement which easily converts to sales and profit.
3.Cross Collaborate for a Larger Market Share - Collaboration is the new black. If you are in business of any kind you should be strategically cross collaborating with everyone who is open to the concept. The larger market share comes from materializes in unity rather than working independently. Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars all highly sought after performers in their own right collaborated for an amazing halftime performance. They created exposure for one another in a deep impactful way. While halftime performers aren't paid, their marketing efforts and investment have the potential to pay off in big ways. Collaborative opportunities provide scalability, disruption, and connectivity on a higher level.
4. Cast the Vision -Just moments after an amazing halftime performance Beyonce unveils a 40 city stadium tour called The Formation Tour. The tour which hits major cities in the US, UK and Europe is also attached to a social cause. Fans will be given an opportunity to participate in the #Beygood initiative aiding in the water crisis in Flint Michigan. The Formation video opened up the conversations around social impact, the tour signs the deal, brings focus and action and social impact and adds a little extra to the Blue Ivy (Beyonce's daughter) College Fund.
5. Collect the dough - Touch points are important in customer sales and acquisitions. In the span of 48 hrs Beyonce has managed to hit all of the triggers and deliver the the final call to action. The video, the political messages, the halftime show, the tour invitation, behind the scenes photos and now we wait, with anticipation of course. When expectancy and desire meet in the form of a sale there is an explosion that takes place that goes far beyond price. Every moment the fans wait for an open cart, the hearts and wallets swell with anticipation. Expectancy yields outcomes especially when it comes to the consumer.