A woman fed up or a badass marketing genius? These were the thoughts that immediately came to my mind after I listened to Beyonce’s latest visual album—Lemonade.
First song up on the album: “Pray You Catch Me.”
“You can taste the dishonesty. It’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier. But even that’s a test.” Pray You Catch Me…
Anyone who has ever experienced being cheated on or lied to can relate to these lyrics. But while many people listened to a few songs and solely focused on Jay Z’s rumored infidelities, I was screaming, “Yassss Bey, let it go. She’s a woman like the rest of us. Revealing is healing—and it’s also one of the quickest ways to boost your bottom line.”
Now, of course, we should know by now, Bey doesn’t have to hustle for album sales.
But whether you buy into the idea that the album is based on her life or you believe it’s marketing at its best. Queeny Bey has revolutionized the way we create, distribute and consume music. Here are a few personal brand marketing gems we can all learn from #Lemonade.
1.Take control of your narrative – Authenticity is the secret sauce to success. And remember, no matter what you’re going through, you have the power to write your own story. After years of speculation about problems in their marriage, Bey and Jay addressed the rumors in her own unique way. Remember, at any given moment, you have the power to say: this is not how my story is going to end.“
2.Speak to your target audience’s struggles –The success of this album proves one of the key ingredients for success is having an in-depth understanding of your audience. Go beyond basic demographics. What’s keeping your audience up at night? What emotions are they struggling with? What are their dreams? What (or Who) is getting in the way of accomplishing their goals? What are their daily habits? What are they afraid of?
3. Turn your message into a movement by telling relatable stories – When you turn your message into a movement, you’re inviting your audience to a seat at your dining room table. You’re sharing your experiences and allowing them to feel free to talk about their struggles, and navigate their way to success. Don’t believe me? Try searching the hashtag #Lemonade—so you can see the countless articles, tweets and live discussions about Lemonade.
The release of #Lemonade proves “social sells”. Queen Bey is not only dominating the billboard charts, she’s taking over conversations in politics, fashion, technology and culture. And there’s no better way to do this by using a simple and relatable concept like Lemonade—seriously, even a 6 year can understand it.
Ultimately, being social helps you build trust. It helps you sell your ideas, products and boost your credibility. And it also attracts your tribe which may include followers, supporters, clients, and investors.
Everyone has the ability to turn their message into a movement. Here’s how: If someone asked you to share your best piece of advice about life, how would you respond? What has happened in your life that has made you feel this way? Break your story down—how does the story begin? Who are the key players? Are there any pivotal moments where transformation occurred? Now, take your reader through the experience with words and images that evoke emotion and arouse curiosity. Name 3-5 things that happened during that time that empowered you to shift your perspective or change. Then, use 2-3 social media channels such as your personal blog, Periscope or Twitter to share your empowering story. Oh and hashtags are your best friend.
4. Think visual – Beyond the lyrics, the scenes in Lemonade were amazing. From hair and fashion choices like the tribal makeup and headpieces to destinations such as plantations in New Orleans, each song video evoked an emotion, vibe or time period for viewers.
So, how can you design your message in a visually appealing way? First, figure out how you want to be perceived—easy going, playful, fearless, etc. What are your strengths? Do you have a distinct style or tone of “voice”?
5. Connect your personal brand to a social cause – Conflict, health issues or problems within the community are another great way to spread the word about your super powers while connecting to a group of like-minded people. Lemonade illustrates the drama of heartbreak and breaks it down into several categories—infidelity, death and girl power. The hour-long visual album features black girl magic at every scene, from Serena Williams to Sybrina Fulton, Gwen Carr and Lesley McSpadden—the mothers of the slain Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner, who are holding pictures of their murdered sons.
And, from filming in New Orleans, Lemonade managed to keep the conversation going about Hurricane Katrina, a 2005 tragic event in American history where the city is still suffering.
6. Empower your audience to take action – I always say, when one woman shares her journey, her setbacks, fears, and insecurities—it heals another woman. Lemonade breathes life into this statement. Although the album begins with stories of betrayal, hurt, self-doubt and unworthiness, it ends with the crazy sweet feeling of recognizing your badassness. It forces us to own our stories—the good, bad and frighteningly ugly. It empowers us to heal ourselves. Then it reminds us all that we are fearless, flawless and fully capable of spreading black girl magic around the world.
“Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation.” What are your thoughts about Lemonade?