The Lemonade Effect: 4 Ways to Slay Your Business Like Beyoncé
Without a doubt, Beyoncé and her team have ingeniously bridged the gap between personality and brand. Beyoncé is both, and not only is she both, she has creatively crafted her own standard. She is comparable only to herself. As if dropping a surprise album on us was not enough, she outdid herself yet again, with what we have now -- Lemonade. Understanding her bossness and adapting it for your business can help you create your own Lemonade Effect.
Where did Lemonade even come from? Essentially, Lemonade began with what some would deem as one of the largest public relations (PR) disasters to date: the elevator incident. Beyoncé and Jay Z, are arguably the most private couple of our generation, and it was (unfortunately) truly thrilling to see such a notorious breakdown occur in a silent security footage video tape. Without rehashing the details, what resulted was a frenzy of media speculation. The press around Beyoncé prior to the incident had already been fairly negative. People were convinced of a faked pregnancy, outraged over “photoshopped” Instagram photos, and [insert whatever other hating here]. It became evident that Beyoncé’s usual response, no direct response, was not going to be good enough this time. But Yoncé was already seventeen steps ahead of us.
Lemonade itself happened in 4 steps:
- The Formation single
- The Super Bowl Performance aka Announce a Surprise World Tour (with only ONE single, mind you)
- The Visual Album HBO Special
- The Formation World Tour
From these four phases of The Lemonade Effect, and the creative history of the Beyoncé brand, we can learn ways to “slay” our own brands.
Find Your Leverage
You need to develop a solid concept. What was Beyoncé's concept? Over the years she has done one thing consistently -- stepped up her visual element. Better than words and stills, videography depicts and evokes the precise emotions she wants her fans to see and feel. She's gone from surprise videos (once B'day debuted, she premiered a video a day for a week of the album's songs), to an entire surprise album with individual videos, to Lemonade...a 65 minute visual album.
How does this work from the entrepreneurial standpoint? First, what are the trends (upcoming or current) in your field? How can you leverage them with your brand, team and talents? If you were the ONLY person in your industry (your only competition), how would you outdo yourself?
Move In Silence
Before you take this out of context, DO NOT drop a surprise album. Seriously. Before Beyoncé could surprise anyone -- there had to be someone to surprise. She cultivated the hell out of her target audience and created the BeyHive. That aside, how can we “non-Beyoncé's” move powerfully with impact in silence? What does that even look like? For starters, it means everything is not meant for sharing on social media, with your friends, or even with your mom. Some things should stay between you and God (and then your team).
I'm not saying you have to hide under a rock and work your heart out; however, you do need to be methodical about who knows what, and also how you market and advertise your brand. Beyoncé recorded legitimate music videos IN PUBLIC and people still had no idea what she was doing. People were shocked when "Beyoncé" dropped overnight along with its music videos. In short, create a goal – be it a book, or a product/service launch – create a plan and work your plan – in silence. Everybody does not need to affirm what you are doing for it to be worthwhile. Truthfully, half of them either do not truly care, will not fully understand without the bigger picture, or want your ideas for themselves.
Own Your Narrative
Bring back the elevator incident. Bring back her father's affair. Bring it all back. Listen to her Flawless Remix: “Of course some sh*t gonna go down when there's a billion dollars up in an elevator.” This was the only clue we had, before “Becky with the good hair.” Beyoncé talks to her fans directly through music. Whether or not Becky with the good hair is real, or this has been a genius multi-year PR stunt, the only narrative we have to accompany any of these incidents is Beyoncé's.
As we look to her for answers, she looks back with that elusive pageant girl smile, and gives us Lemonade. Fans wanted more access to Beyoncé -- so she creates her own website, joins Instagram and GIVES us what we want. Better images, and more access (albeit controlled) than any paparazzi can capture. Everywhere you look, Beyoncé has claimed the rights to her life. In business, this relates to your our brand story; how your audience gets to know and connect with the essence of your brand. What is the narrative of your brand? Does your brand have a story? Does your audience have a way to connect genuinely and authentically with you and/or your brand?
I’d love to claim that hashtag, but it was shared with me as words of encouragement from the amazing Quayla (@MemoirsofaLibra). Nonetheless, it is the perfect final point in creating your own Lemonade Effect. Stay focused on you, for you are truly your only competition.
- Who were you aware of dropping surprise albums before Beyoncé?
- Who was dropping visual albums on HBO (and HBO was free that weekend, by the way) before Beyoncé?
- Who was announcing world tours that you cared to attend with only one album single before Beyoncé?
Who did Beyoncé have to motivate her? Who was pushing her? She embodies the concept "you are your only competition." She constantly outdoes herself. Please note; however, #SlayInYourLane does NOT mean ignore all else. Beyoncé remains fully on top of applicable trends, ensuring she is appropriately relevant -- emphasis on applicable trends. In her Formation World Tour, she has paid tribute to both Prince and the victims of police brutality. These current events are directly in line with the key elements of her brand – an artist, a voice, and a humanitarian.
So there you have it:
- Find Your Leverage
- Move In Silence
- Own Your Narrative
Add a few lemons and a tad bit of sugar, and you too can have your own Lemonade Effect!