You probably haven't heard anything about it, but this little-known singer called Beyoncé dropped her new album last week and – well, people are pretty excited about it. Can it teach us marketing people anything though? Yes. Yes it can.
Lemonade has quickly established itself as one of the most critically-acclaimed albums in years, breaking records left, right and centre. We can certainly learn a lot about hair-flipping, man-hating and something about a girl called Becky from these 12 tracks – but how can we apply it to digital marketing? Over at monkey HQ we've been scratching our heads since the album dropped to figure that out, just for you.* You lucky lot.
*No, this article was definitely not an excuse to listen to the album in the office. Nope. Definitely not. No-sir-ee.
1. Video is king, and Beyonce is queen.
If anybody was in doubt that video is king, let the Queen B educate you. This isn’t Beyoncé’s first visual album, but it’s a cinematic leap ahead of 2014’s Beyoncé. Lemonade is a game-changing album in its own right, but with the visual mastery of those story-telling videos behind it, it’s a work of art. And Bey’s no fool. By 2017, video will account for 69% of consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco – so as usual, ya girl is way ahead of the game. By accompanying Lemonade with a fully visual soundtrack, Mrs Carter demands our full attention through one of the few attention-grabbing mediums still available.
2. Dare to be different.
Who even makes albums any more, right? In an age where songs are Spotify-ed on playlists or downloaded individually, the album seems like a bit of a lost art. But this child of Destiny is no slave to trends, presenting Lemonade as a masterfully arranged creation which demands to be listened to in its entirety. So in this trendy ol' world of digital marketing, channel your inner Yoncé and don't be afraid of the old school – if it works. Beyoncé knows herself and knows her talents, and she knows the album works for her. Why fix what ain't broke? Know your brand and know what works for you, and don't be afraid to stand your ground.
Instagram photo by Beyoncé * Mar 9, 2016 at 7:13pm UTC by @beyonce
3. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - so help you Yoncé.
Beyonce's famously private, but her soul is laid bare on Lemonade (and ooh, hasn't Jay Z been a badboy, eh?). With the kind of candour rarely seen in modern media, Beyoncé lays their marriage out flaws and all for the world to see throughout Lemonade. And, sure, we can easily dismiss it as PR stunt - but if it ain't, then this is some seriously truthful bravery from the Queen B. And it works! She's never seemed so vulnerable – and simultaneously, powerful – as she does on Lemonade, and the Beyhive are going wild for it. Because, as this album proves, there's nothing like honesty to win your audience round.
4. Be emosh.
When you tell the truth, you win your audience's respect. But, more than that, you allow them to identify with you. We've all had those times where we've been so annoyed at our other halves that we've flounced around in a yellow dress smashing things with baseball bats, right? Right. Beyonce's emotional honesty on Lemonade allows us to put ourselves in her shoes, and sing as angrily as if we were snarling it in Jay Z's face. As consumers, we're exposed to around 5000 adverts every single day - so how can marketers (or Beyonce-wannabes) stand out among the noise? As Bey proves, emotion. Emotional connection far outlasts any other kind of reaction, and you only have to look at the loyalty of the Beyhive to understand the appeal.
5. Take a stand.
If you really believe in something, don't skirt around the issue. The thorny topics of religion and politics are always tricky, but if you're sensible and convicted then you'll win the respect of the audience you're after. Beyoncé knows that her (predominantly young, female and educated) audience are up in arms about Black Lives Matter and feminism in general, so she's not afraid to make her opinions heard. Basic psychology tells us we love things that we identify with, so - reckon your audience aren't the biggest fans the new Rebulican nominee? Embrace the meme. You'll have people laughing, and – more importantly – you'll have people remembering you, too.
In school, I learned to be myself and how to be a leader. #62MillionGirls don't have that chance. by @beyonce
6. Keep your best work on the DL.
With the February release of Formation and the April launch of clothing line Ivy Park, we kinda knew Beyoncé was up to something. But crucially, she's developed such a rep for innovation and creativity that you can't ever guess what it might be – and she's certainly not gonna be so foolish as to tell us. Dropping the album late night on HBO meant that the Twitter-sphere basically shut down the next day (yes, you will always remember where you were the first time you heard Lemonade). Now, we may not be quite as Beyoncé level just yet, but it's worth learning from the Queen that really excellent ideas should be kept quiet until they're ready to be born. You all know that at Noisy Little Monkey we're all about sharing the knowledge and sharing the love, but if you've got a really brilliant idea for your next marketing campaign – keep it to yourself. Then, once it's a rousing success, you'll be able to bask in endless glory. Or, write a great case study. One of the two.
7. When life gives you lemons...
When life hands you lemons, what do you do? You make like Beyoncé, and you make lemonade. Jay Z's alleged infidelity probably wasn't a part of Bey's 10 year plan – nor does it fit with the carefully crafted Mr & Mrs Carter image they'd built. She could've buried her head in the sand and carried on doing the same old thing, but she didn't. Once she'd dealt with the inevitable personal pain, she turned that pain into art – creating an album as searing and angry as it is humble and raw. So, next time your campaign doesn't work out or your shiny new website falls down at the last hurdle, remember that mistakes and struggles are inevitable – yes, even for Beyoncé. Pick yourself up, learn from mistakes, and make yourself some good old fashioned Lemonade.
Your turn, gang! What lessons have you learned from the Queen B? Whether it's in digital marketing or freakum-dress-wearing, we want to hear from you. Give us a shout on Twitter @noisymonkey. Gifs: mandatory.