Unveiling a new brand? Learn from the Queen herself! Beyoncé is a singer, actress, songwriter and record producer of American origin. After her successful stint with her self- titled album in 2013, she did not have any new releases for 3 years. Then came “Lemonade” in 2016 , an album which is a great example of how Integrated Marketing Communications can be a great marketing tool; not just for large multinational companies but also for any organization or individual who wants to emerge as a global brand (Dewhirst & Davis 2005).
The world was waiting for her new Album and then came the surprise – the first single “Formation” , from her album “Lemonade” before her second Super Bowl halftime performance in February,2016. In doing so she evoked curiosity with the new song sparking rumours of an impending album release. In her performance she addressed racial discrimination and also had her dancers dress like “Black Panthers”. This was remarkable in that an average of 111.9 million viewers witnessed it on television. To the world that greeted it with mixed emotions came the announcement of “Formation World Tour” from April to October 2016, a day after her performance at the Super Bowl. Yet there was no hint of an album release.
In March,2016 Beyoncé went on to reveal Ivy Park, a premium sportswear brand. The adverts told the story of Beyoncé growing up and working out in a local park. This was a perfect illustration of how IMC was utilised to connect with the consumers on an emotional and social level(Tsai 2005). Beyoncé was integrating various channels to promote her brand and her world tour.
The buzz that went Viral…
On April16, 2016, the 5-7 second clip of “Lemonade” was aired on HBO which left the audience wondering what it could be. HBO went on to showcase the premier of “Lemonade” for free that weekend facilitating an effective reach. Taking a cue from her fellow Tidal artist co-owner’s Kanye West and Rihanna , Beyoncé released her sixth Album “ Lemonade” exclusively on Tidal on 23rd April, 2016 . Finally, the wait was over. “Lemonade” told the story of racial bias while highlighting the values and rich legacy of the Black Culture.
With just 8 tweets and 14.2million followers since she joined Twitter in 2009, Beyoncé definitely was popular. After a gap of 3 years her ninth tweet with a change of profile picture to “Lemonade” cover art came just after the HBO premier.
The internet echoed the success story with 1.8 thousand re-tweets per minute to 9.2 thousand in just an hour . It also topped Tidal’s Apple’s App Store Rankings. The result , a massive 1.2 million copies sold in United States alone as of July,2016.Social media like Facebook and print and digital media also reverberated the success .
IMC: The key to success
Integrating Marketing communication is an evolving concept that helps organizations to create a sustained competitive advantage and brand value (Jankovic 2012).It helps reduce operational costs, improves interdepartmental relations while maintaining greater consistency (Kitchen & Burgmann 2015). Beyoncé and her marketing team had definitely created an effective brand value and awareness by using not just the live performance but also the online media and television. This form of integrated marketing campaigns can help in achieving lasting associations which is vital for the brand’s success (Kerr & Patti 2015).
The marketing team had accomplished what they were aiming for. They had achieved more than the minimum threshold for an effective reach (Murray & Jenkins 1992).The consistent yet staggered promotions helped achieve the right frequency with the target audience(Naples 1997). The consistency maintained when it came to the message of racial discrimination and across the usage of all media was yet another determining factor in delivering the right marketing mix(Navarro-Bailón 2012).Users of Facebook, Twitter and other social media was co-creating value for Beyoncé and her album (Kao et al. 2016).
With the ever increasing competition , focus needs to be on how to cohesively use the marketing tools to gain a competitive advantage (‘The importance of marketing strategy: Gaining the competitive edge with Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)’ 2006). Just like the Integrated Marketing Communications behind the success of “Lemonade”, every platform be it social, digital or traditional media should effectively communicate the same idea. Beyoncé and her team took care not to just re-post the same matter across various fragmented media but delivered the same core message.
In the digital era where consumers are bombarded with information from various platforms, a holistic approach of marketing communication alone can help in creating a sustained brand recall(Delgado-Ballester, Navarro & Sicilia 2012).Demi Goddess when it comes to appearance but it was not sheer magic that Beyoncé created success with. In fact, it was an effective marketing strategy executed by an equally efficient team that created the magic potion for success.
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