When it comes to classy, savvy, beautiful, talented female entrepreneurs, it doesn’t get much better than Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, otherwise known as Beyoncé. In addition to being number 4 on the FORBES Celebrity 100 list, Beyoncé is a charismatic role model for children, women, and minorities all across the world. But you already know that, right! What you might not know is this success is not just the result of her incredible musical talents and beauty–it is directly connected to the way Beyoncé approaches business and the BRAND she’s built. What are her business secrets?
Alright, blink a couple times and get ready for some eye-popping numbers….this year Beyoncé will earn about $87 million from her endeavors. This includes publishing, music sales, touring performances, films, her fashion collection and endorsement deals. This is partially thanks to her mind-blowing 118 million records sold, her ten Grammys, her soaring film and television career and the three solo tours she has headlined. But it’s also a result of Beyoncé the Entrepreneur, Beyoncé the Businesswoman. Like Lebron James, who I wrote about last week, Beyoncé runs an incredibly impressive global brand that everyone, especially entrepreneurs and business owners, can learn from!
So here are some bite-sized branding lessons from one of the world’s most business-savvy divas:
1. Build an entourage of people who can help you execute your vision.
Business is a team game. One person can’t possibly do everything Beyoncé does by herself. She is able to delegate tall orders to trustworthy associates. That said, you can’t just kick your feet up and let your assistants do all the work. You have to get in the trenches with your troops!
What I like most about Beyoncé is what a ferociously hard worker she is. She could easily rest on her laurels and take it easy–instead she is driven to keep evolving and developing her brand. But even the hardest worker in the world needs a team if you’re going to create a successful brand.
2. Be authentic and OWN the company you own.
It’s your company, so put your stamp on it and make it unmistakably yours. Currently, Beyonce won’t even accredit press photographers and has banned any image of her that’s not authorized by her own entertainment company. She is involved at every level of her brand development
3. Connect with your customers and followers on a deep interpersonal basis.
Don’t rely on media outlets and outsourced advertising agencies–CREATE YOUR OWN HYPE!
Be clear, consistent, and relentless in your brand presence–your followers want YOU, not ad copy.
This actually ties into having a trustworthy entourage because you need to be able to trust that your team will engage with a unified voice that is Yours!
Because of her engagement efforts and skills Beyoncé’s followers feel she is their genuine friend. She has built up a lot of loyalty. As a result, she doesn’t even need marketing hype, her own fans create the Beyoncé brand hype. And it’s incredibly effective!
4. Be prepared to make painful decisions.
Beyoncé fired her own dad. For real. Even though Matthew Beyoncé had managed his daughter’s career all the way from Destiny’s Child and the early days, in 2011 she parted ways with him as a business associate. “This was not a normal ending of a business agreement,” he said of the rift. “This was a dad and a daughter and it was incredibly painful and it had some difficulties.”
Imagine how hard this was for Beyoncé. It’s almost incomprehensible. But she knew it was the right thing for her career. Remember how Lebron James made the painful decision to leave Cleveland and pursue championships with Miami? There’s a pattern here. Gut-wrenching choices are part of running a business.
5. Operate outside of the usual.
We call this ‘outside the box.’ Absorb business secrets from visionaries like Beyoncé and then light out on your own. Here’s an example: Team Beyoncé did not do any marketing for the release of her fifth studio album. She explained it like this: “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.”
This ties right back in with building interpersonal relationships for your brand and developing a sense of loyalty. Once again, she is turning away from ad copy and focusing instead on being Authentic.
So what can you do? Well, let’s cut to the chase: how do you execute all this if you’re not an insanely rich and powerful celebrity? I suggest you start by doubling down on the authenticity of your business mission and messaging. When your customers and clients LOVE you, your brand will grow naturally. It’s time you create a community and relationships around that message. This week think about how you can differentiate your brand WITHOUT being gimicky. You ARE authentic. Now it’s time to get your message out and be real!
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Voice for Business Success
Allison Maslan, CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, The World Leader in Scaling Businesses. She is the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of, Scale or Fail, which is endorsed by Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19. Her client list has included Ben & Jerry’s, Supercuts, Charlotte Russe, and Allstate.
Now she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward by helping business owners scale their companies, fast-track their success and create a more meaningful life. The Pinnacle Global Network, her private mentoring and mastermind enterprise has guided thousands of business owners over the past 10 years. Allison’s been featured in Inc., Success, Fortune, Fast Company and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox across the US. Allison has also hosted her own podcast, The Scale or Fail Show, since 2011.