What Beyoncé Can Teach Us About Viral Marketing and Brand Strategy


Most successful marketing campaigns are done by design. They are ideated in someone’s creative brain. Then these ideations are transferred to a memo pad and pen. From there the ideas are transformed and evolved into tangible concepts which are picked and prodded like some science experiment.

Once the final masterpiece of a concept is agreed upon, it becomes the genesis of someone’s campaign. This is the trajectory of every cleverly written tweet, video and/or social stunt which becomes viral. MOST of the time.

Once in a blue moon there will be something, usually a video, that goes viral on it’s own. Remember “hide yo kids, hide yo wife?” However social stunts such as the ice bucket challenge was no accident. Neither is anything Kardashian related. However, if anyone is going to teach a masterclass on viral marketing and brand strategy, it’s Beyoncé.

By now you’ve seen the video “Formation.” For the record I am not a “stan” and I do not belong to the Beehive. However one cannot deny her hustle and as she continues to redefine the rules of marketing, I can only sit back in awe at how she handles her brand’s business.

Personally I love the story behind the music video for Formation. As an aspiring filmmaker, the creative direction of her video was pure magic. This is the thing about artistry. You can’t force creativity. When the muse strikes you run with it.

Let’s take a quick look at a few of the lessons Mrs. Carter taught us over the years.

1) Own Your ‘Ish. Not only is she a singer but she’s also a writer and producer. She is fiercely in charge of her brand and runs a tight ship. Rarely do you see a misstep in her actions. She’s strategic and being intentional with your brand and business works when you own it.

2) Build Your Tribe. There are many performers out there but few command the global authority that Beyoncé possesses. She cultivated her fan base and nurtured her audience by giving them what they want, which is her at her most authentic best.

3) Diversify Your Offerings. Beyoncé could have easily called it a day with singing. However, in this day and age, you need more than just one stream of revenue. If you want the level of success that she enjoys you have to extend your brand into other areas so that you give your brand + business high growth potential.

4) Embrace Your Haters. These are people who give you free publicity. They’ll do quite a bit of the heavy lifting with getting your brand and business’ name out there. There’s a saying that goes “don’t feed the trolls” and you’ll want to remember this when haters try their best to engage you in meaningless conversations.

5) Keep them guessing. “The best defense is a good offense.” Innovating is not always about creating something new. It could be redefining the status quo. While most artists create a marketing plan to promote their new albums, Bey drops her latest on iTunes without any pre-launch hype and STILL crushes the charts.

So the next time you wonder what to do with your indie film, Youtube channel, creative business, media career or entertainment startup, stop and have a heart to heart with yourself and “what would Beyoncé do?”‘