Even if you can’t dance
How do you make the world stop, hold its breath, gasp and cry all at the same time with just a marketing technique? If you’re Beyoncé, the answer is easy – you’re a talented superstar. However, it’s not that simple. Late last year, in the middle of December, Beyoncé released an album in an altogether new fashion. Unlike her colleagues in the music industry, the release of these songs weren’t announced ahead of time or "leaked" to generate buzz. Instead, one wintry evening, iTunes quietly dropped "Beyoncé," her multimedia music-and-video album, into its stream of online-only downloads.
Moments later, news outlets were frantically covering the story, reporting on the secrecy of the event and its enormous reception. Even though no one knew it was happening, word spread quickly, and in no time, it seemed like everyone – regardless of fan base – was talking about Beyoncé’s secret album release.
Let’s pause. You are a small business owner, not Beyoncé, but the marketing tactics that made this album release a monumental affair can still be applied to your own marketing strategies. Although so many different elements went into the success of this event, consider how the following five takeaways from the "Beyoncé" album release can be applied to your future promotions:
1. It was done entirely in secret
Small businesses might not have the worldwide fame of Beyoncé to propel their ideas forward, but if you have a well-known brand and a reputation that has earned you a following of loyal customers, then this tactic might be worth considering. Part of the allure for this tactic is the opportunity to surprise people. From a business perspective, you might have to tweak the release a little, as it’s difficult to guarantee that every consumer is getting his or her news from the same outlet, but once you’ve developed a strategy that will work for your brand, the shock factor has real potential.
2. All of this planning gives you a chance to review your brand strategy
When Beyoncé’s album dropped, it wasn’t just the surprise that made fans clamor for the music. Not only were songs sent live for download, but videos to accompany them were released simultaneously. Beyoncé
3. Use the momentum you’ve created
It wasn’t just the inclusion of another medium that set Beyoncé apart from the rest. Each song on the album helps shape a new story, revealing a powerful feminist side to the megastar’s wheelhouse that helped make her brand more relatable for her fanbase which is critical. While you might have an idea or two for a marketing fireworks display, consider how riding out that momentum could help you tell a new story, rather than letting it fizzle out until the next big launch.
4. After the release, go social
It wasn’t long after "Beyoncé" dropped that Beyoncé shared her ideas with the public. Her fans had enough time to form their opinions and get to know the music before she made any waves with a public interview, and the same strategy might work for you. As social media is one of the fastest ways to tell your consumers about the goings-on of your business, feel free to discuss your behind-the-scenes planning with people. Not only will you be able to share your ideas, but you’ll also give people another way to relate with your brand simply by communicating with them directly.
5. Teasers are just as good when they’re surprises
In a few of Beyoncé’s videos, flashes of a subplot were included. The camera zooms in on diamond-encrusted teeth, for example, revealing another musical artist who is featured on the album as a sort of a ‘preview’ of what’s to come. This idea translates well to business releases, as well. If you’re planning to help build your brand, why not give your consumers something to think about? Giving your fans all of your secrets will certainly keep them informed, but if you ever want to get that shock value back, try hinting at a future sale or special event using a cryptic tweet or a creative advertisement. Using ‘teaser’ tactics like this should pique your customers interest and keep them coming back for more.