Tuesday, December 17, 2013

To Bey or Not to Bey: What Beyoncé's Surprise Album has Taught Us

The age old phrase goes as follows: All publicity is good publicity.

For Beyoncé it seems as though no publicity is good publicity.

As always, Mrs. Carter not only follows her own rules, but creates them. She shocked the world by releasing a surprise fifth album last Thursday at midnight.

Let's take a look at how Beyoncé played a risky PR game, yet managed to win. And did she ever win big. In a blink of the eye, the album has become the fastest selling release in the history of iTunes.

1. She's lived & learned

After much hype and hoopla, her last album was met with a large degree of disappointment from media, critics and fans alike. It's no wonder she took a complete opposite approach for this latest album, if at first you don't succeed try, try again, right? Right. Not only has she proved that she's learned from her mistakes, but that she's a savvy business woman as well. She may take risks, but as she just showed us all, they are indeed calculated ones. A large portion of PR is attributed to gaging and understanding your audience. Reacting fast is crucial to survival. She has clearly learned from her mistakes and proven that she knows very well what we want.

2. Element of surprise 

In today's digital age its extremely difficult to keep a secret. Someone either leaked that, this website posted that spoiler, or that paparazzi saw this; not to mention throwing real time apps like Vine and Twitter into the mix. The fact that she was able to keep not only the recording stage of this project under wraps, but the video process as well, is an incredibly impressive feat. The element of surprise is something that has been lacking lately, and the fact that she was able to bring it back is retro and rewarding.

3. Quality vs. quantity

The self titled album only has 14 songs (yet 17 videos) and every single one rocks our socks off. Not often do you hear an album where each song is better than the previous one. It is clear that on this album she simply let the content speak for itself. This could've proven to be dangerous if the content wasn't up to snuff. Quality first, promotion second. It makes our jobs as PR professionals extremely difficult if there isn't quality in the products we have to promote.

Regardless about how you feel about Queen Bey, it is impossible to ignore that she knocked it out of the park on this one. This tactic is one that requires exacting execution and can only be pulled off by a superstar such as herself. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if your garage band drops a secret album it's pretty safe to say that it will remain a secret album. We can't even imagine how many moving parts were involved in this stunt, and in order for it to be effective it would have to pulled off ***flawlessly.

That being said, some takeaways for our less famous friends can include:

-Don't be shy to switch it up! Try new things. Out with the old and in with the new. Our generation has the attention span of a fly and is always looking for innovative ideas.

-Keep your secrets to yourself. There is so much temptation for competition out there. Nowadays, you are exposed to everything and anything online, thus making it incredibly easy to be influenced by others. To shut the world out and focus on your art is both a rare and necessary practise. Turn the tables on yourself and turn your attention inward instead of outward.

What do you think of Beyoncé's strategy? What other lessons would you add to our list?

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