Life is so unfair. Not only is Beyoncé more talented and beautiful than all of us, she's also better at marketing.
You'd have to be living under a rock to not know that Queen Bey is expecting twins. She shared the announcement Feb. 1 on Instagram, and the photo quickly became the most liked photo on social media. The announcement was also strategically announced before her Grammy Awards performance, transforming the typically dull event into The Beyoncé Show. Naturally, her performance featured the twins, protruding from her growing baby bump.
What's more, Beyoncé's pregnancy has a theme: African goddess Oshun. Prominently featured in the Yoruba religion, which spread throughout the world during the slave trade, Oshun is the goddess of creation, prosperity, order, water, beauty, love and fertility. She wields so much power, she is respected by the most powerful male gods because without her, they are rendered ineffective. In other words, the deity version of Beyoncé.
Oshun is also known for her wrath, which she unleashes when disrespected by the male gods. She typically wears yellow, and Beyoncé's yellow dress worn during her Hold Up video is theorized to pay homage to Oshun. The entire video features her beating the crap out of male possessions like classic cars with a baseball bat while grinning devilishly like Oshun.
Beyoncé's pregnancy photos also paid tribute to Oshun, with a series of underwater shots and several poses emulating the goddess.
This series of events illustrates why Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z are so successful. They understand the value of a well planned marketing campaign, and have the ability to execute it to perfection.
They also appreciate the value of the saying, "never let a crisis go to waste." After all, it was just two and a half years ago an elevator security video was leaked showing Beyoncé's sister, Solange, hitting and kicking Jay-Z. Rumors swirled that the fight was the result of Jay-Z's infidelity.
Their solution to this PR crisis? Lemonade, a visually arresting and emotionally raw video performance and album that explores infidelity and forgiveness. The performance was so impressive, it probably would have been successful on its own (this is Beyoncé, after all), but the elevator incident without a doubt enhanced sales. It was a brilliant way to sell Beyoncé as relatable, just like us. She may be talented, beautiful and worth a billion dollars, but even she has suffered humiliating betrayal.
The marketing lesson here is that too often, credit unions get stuck in a rut, promoting the same competitive rates and great service as every other financial institution. Financial services and pop singers are commodities, and good rates and great service are as commonplace as a pretty face that can carry a tune.
What makes Beyoncé great is that she brings so much more to the table. She doesn't just give a great performance, she slays 24/7/365. She wasn't just a pregnant woman dancing in a bikini on network television; that would have been tacky. Instead, she continued a well executed emulation of a popular goddess worshipped around the world. And not just any goddess - one that represents twins AND brings order and beauty to a world made ugly by power hungry men.
That's taking branding to a whole new level.
How can your credit union be more like Beyoncé?
First, take a cue from her visually provocative, yet well branded pregnancy photo shoot. Sure, CNN might have announced her pregnancy, but the photos sealed the publicity deal. The media aren't very interested in your new product or service, but if you can present it in an original, visual way that draws readers to their site, you'll get coverage.
Second, make it personal. Social media has changed the face of business, creating a demand for personalization. It's not enough that a celebrity or brand be professional. You must show personality. Your CEO doesn't need to break world records like Richard Branson, but members want to see a little leg, so to speak. That doesn't mean airing dirty laundry like infidelity. However, as an example, post photos of social media showing your CEO wearing a favorite team jersey on game day, and maybe even starting a friendly rivalry with a bank or credit union CEO located in the rival's hometown. Post links to your CEO's (or another C-suiter's) cooking or gardening blog. Perhaps your best dressed senior executive could be featured in social media posts that show how readers could recreate (or purchase) her outfit. Make sure your showcased personalities match your credit union brand. Is your credit union sporty, earthy, stylish, tech savvy or into local support? It should all fit together.
Third, plan well. Whiteboard everything, and make sure the timing lines up. You can bet that Beyoncé already has figured out how she will announce the babies' birth, what she'll wear when she brings them home, and whether or not she'll launch a new line of baby fashions or beauty products for moms. She's probably already writing the album that will feature videos with the babies and has lined up her first performance after she gives birth. And she'll look fabulous doing it all.
Fourth, be fabulous. Beyoncé is successful because she never does anything halfway. Don't market your credit union the same way everyone else does, using the same tired strategies from 10 or 20 years ago. Slay it. Every. Single. Time. Just like Beyoncé.