Question - which brand has the ability to captivate young people around the world? Has the audacity to disrupt systems? Turn its fans into evangelists while overcoming set-backs that other brands get vilified for?
But the answer is Beyonce – a singer who came from modest means - the daughter of a hairdresser and photocopier salesman – to become a global power brand, somehow, embodying the same attributes that brand managers work tirelessly to achieve.
We'll be deep-diving into the 'Beyonce brand' in much more detail – together with releasing lots more unique data and reflecting on what it means for marketers - in our talk at Millennial 2020 (click here to win a pair of tickets!), but today we'll skim through some facets of her brand, what makes it so strong and what lessons we can apply to youth marketing from the way she manages her celebrity.
Since December 2016, we’ve been tracking the most popular celebrities amongst 16-24 year olds in the UK, as part of our State of the Youth Nation insight tool. Above we chart the ‘top ten’ celebrities mentioned when we ask the simple question, “who is your favourite celebrity?”. A new sample of 1000 take part in every wave, every 60 days and the sample is representative of the UK population. Above charts the ‘top of mind’, unprompted celebrities.
As you can see from the orange trend line above, Beyonce is never far from the top of the list. But more tellingly, her popularity remains steady and consistent where other stars oscillate wildly as their publicity machines whir into (and out of) action. Significantly, Beyonce has released no new albums since early 2016, no tours since late 2016 and just one new single in Autumn 2017 (Perfect, duet with Ed Sheeran). Her popularity and consistency belies her activity and is independent of the media circus that most stars rely on.
So what’s the secret sauce behind Beyonce’s brand and why have her fans, the beyhive, remained so loyal?
Consistent talent, applied creatively
A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on
Authenticity in message and meaning
Strategic brand extensions
As her music can stretch, there is little or no cognitive dissonance when she puts her name to a fragrance (the incredibly successful Heat) or a clothing line (Ivy Park, largely sold by TopShop) or a jewellery line (Third Crown) or a myriad of other licensing arrangements.
Ideas to take back to your team
Here are three ideas to help improve your youth marketing based on the power of Queen Bey:
- Talk about what you care about, not just your product – young people want to know what you value and what your brand stands for. Show that you can engage with real issues in an authentic, relevant way, and strive to make changes that will improve society for everyone.
- Examine your social media posts – Take a breath and look at your social media posts and question the underlying messages behind them. Are you oversaturating your audience or delivering an inconsistent message? Aim to be impactful and aspirational rather than applying a scattergun approach that confuses your target consumers.
- Take creative approaches to reach new audiences – While remaining true to your brand, engage with your target market in new and innovative ways. Young people respect bold brands who are open to challenging the ways things are done. But avoid being too rebellious or anti-establishment – focus on innovation and simplicity.
Image: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment