4 marketing lessons from Beyonce's album launch

Late last week, pop artist Beyonce released her fifth album with almost no marketing being done for it. In a post launch video, she discussed why the release was done in such a manner.

“There's so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn't want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it's ready and from me to my fans."

Check out the video:


Here are a few things we can learn from Beyonce’s latest marketing strategy:

1)   The power of visual content:

This year has proven that visual content is key to engaging any fan base. The year saw social media platforms pushing their visual appeal, with the likes of Twitter becoming more visual with pictures in its layout, as well as Instagram encouraging brands to be more visual with its first ads feature. It also added a video feature to compete with the likes of Twitter’s Vine.

Beyonce clearly understood the power of visuals. She first dropped the bomb on her album with a short video clip on Instagram which got fans roaring with excitement.

She also released 17 videos for the album all at once because she wanted to create what she calls an “immersive experience” for her fans.

A recent study by VML Qais on Instagram said that because users are actively searching for content today, brands (and in this case a celebrity) must plan their content to promote discovery amongst previously unengaged users.

2)   The power of an engaged community:

The artist actively utilised all her social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all at once to announce the launch of her latest album. Beyonce, or her marketing team, grasped the concept that if content was king, distribution is indeed queen.

According to Reuters, the launch of the release garnered a lot of reaction from both fans and fellow musicians on Twitter. The album release generated more than 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours, Twitter said on Friday, with a spike of 5,300 tweets a minute.

And this led to Beyonce’s case her fans doing all the talking for her. On her Facebook page alone her preview video has been shared close to 69, 000 times and have had over 16 000 comments just over the weekend.

This goes to show when you have a community strong enough and engage with you regularly enough, a huge spend isn’t always needed to spread the word.

While it’s tempting to argue that a celebrity can garner such an effect easily, Beyonce’s has been building her community, or in this case, her fan base over time, which is what any brand can do.

3)   The element of surprise:

With the sudden release on social media, fans got an air of exclusitivity, as well as surprise from Beyonce.

While a hassle to organise and of course keep secret, this element of surprise does do wonders for marketing. Many celebrities and brands have pulled off such stunts for the success of their campaigns.

Take for instance, Diner en Blanc, a mass picnic where the location is kept secret until the last minute. The event this year saw more than 2,400 people turned up despite the location being reveled at the eleventh hour.

Beer brand Carlsberg also organised its Where’s the Party event, hiding the venue from guests until the day of the event. The event last year saw 1,500 guests from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

4)   The power of story telling

In Beyonce’s video, she says that one of the reasons why she wanted to do a visual album is because she “wanted people to hear the song with the story in her head because that’s what makes it [hers].”

No matter which industry you are in, telling your story matters because it is a vital way to convey the core messages of brand. In a recent article done by Marketing, it seemed like the common thread across the best made ads of the year are ones that engage with the consumer on an emotional level and tell a story.

“While it is easy to get lost in new technology, it is important to get back to the basics of marketing, said Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific at Google and this Beyonce did in the form of telling her story.