Marketing Lessons from Beyoncé’s Lemonade

This week Beyoncé managed to almost break the internet with her highly controversial video album Lemonade, which she first released exclusively on HBO. The media frenzy, which followed, speculating about every word in the lyrics and every gesture she makes in the videos, just shows that people need to get a life, but nevertheless, was a welcome and dare I say, well planned, marketing move on the brilliant Mrs. Knowles-turned-Carter. Here’s what we can learn from Bey’s tactics in terms of building and marketing your personal brand:

  1. Whether your dad cheated on your mom or your husband cheated on you matters little; what matters is what people think happened. You can capitalize on speculations and rumours by bundling them together into a compelling (not necessarily credible) story, eluding to one or more of said rumours, leading people further on. This may or may not have anything to do with reality. Beyoncé is a well-oiled marketing machine, that much we know, and this is a carefully thought out and planned out project, not just the midnight hysterics of a hurt woman.
  1. As explained by Beyoncé’s unauthorized biographer, it is doubtful at best whether Lemonade has any bearings to the real world but people make up things in their heads about you and the sooner you recognize that this doesn’t have to be a detriment but can be used to your advantage, the better. Why spend time and money dispelling rumours when you can build something on top of them? Sprinkle some stardust and make that gossip work for you.
  1. We’re all hungry to know about other people’s private lives in detail. Whether you’re a private person who enjoys the confidentiality of personal affairs or a reality star wannabe, you can play on the insatiable interests of the inquisitive by feeding them some kind of information that would delight them. Why kill people’s fun and spend energy protecting your privacy when you can give them an alternative reality they so desperately want to believe in? We may want to think that Beyoncé made this album to deal with the pain she had to go through when coping with Jay Z’s infidelity, along with rallying the public’s support in making him Bad Guy #1, but I think she’s much smarter than to use her own life as a pity arena.

In the end, I am sure both Bey and Jay-Z are sitting and having a good laugh looking at the sales charts for Lemonade, relishing the results of their brilliant marketing plot and conniving how to keep the rumour mill going.  Heck, they probably asked their friend Rachel Roy, a.k.a. “Becky with the good hair,” who was likely in need of some PR for her latest clothing line, to join in the controversy-stirring with her now-deleted infamous Instagram photo.



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