Five Things Beyoncé Can Teach You About Branding by @suzanbond

by  Suzan Bond | Featured Contributor

You may not be a pop sensation known as Queen B, but you can still learn some valuable branding lessons from the brand brilliance that is Beyoncé. Sure, her last album sold 430,000 copies in the first 24 hours but don’t be daunted–every brand has to start somewhere.

1. Hone your craft.
Beyoncé spent 16 years honing her craft  and building her tribe, selling over 118 million records, numerous concert tours and building her web presence on Twitter + Instagram. All of this work allowed Beyoncé to drop a highly successful new record without notice or a multimillion dollar marketing budget. But that doesn’t mean you can.The most successful brands don’t just appear overnight. There aren’t any shortcuts to becoming a lasting presence. Identifying your killer differentiator is the first step, then you need to invest in yourself by honing your craft—over and over and over again.

Action: Be so good they can’t ignore you (credit to Steve Martin for that one).

2. Evolve your brand as you grow.
Sasha Fierce was so 2008. Beyoncé has said that she no longer needs her alter ego. These days she shows off a sexier side—did you see the opening of the Grammys?? Beyoncé is clearly demonstrating her comfort with herself and how she’s evolved as a woman. She allows her brand to evolve as she does. Don’t be afraid to update your brand + online identity as you grow.  Like you might tweak your wardrobe after a big move like my recent one to NYC, update your branding as you shift—and as trends change.

There’s a site in my industry with solid content. But. The branding is so outdated circa mid 2000′s web and mismatched with its sophisticated content that I can’t read it. This is a missed opportunity for both of us. Now you don’t want to be switching your logo out every year but you can change graphical elements or update your copy. Building a website used to be spendy + daunting. Now there are plenty of cost effective, relatively painless ways to update your web presence. I often recommend SquareSpace to my clients.

Action: Don’t stay stuck in a bygone eta of culture or of you.

3. Be vulnerable.
Beyoncé has slick marketing for sure but is also willing to be vulnerable. In her recent documentary she sits makeup free in a hotel room confessing that she’s learning how to trust herself and deal with haters in the media. Her willingness to be open strengthened an already solid brand. While most of are terrified of it, being vulnerable actually makes you more likable.  Anyone who pretends they have together all the time is pretending. Showing off the bumps and lumps of your untidy life will endear you far more than 10 more blog posts about how fabulous your life is and how you have it all together. Everyone has the moment when they’re scared they can’t do it.

Action: Stop pretending and get real.

Beyonce Tips4. Be Focused
When it comes to Beyoncé, you know what to expect. Powerful, soul infused songs with a tinge of girl power.  Drunk In Love, All The Single Ladies & Independent Woman are sure to make an appearance on many women’s list of songs that make them feel sexy or powerful. When the internet now feels like drinking from a fire hose, having a focus helps people find you. There are plenty of Instagram streams devoted to doxies, adorable kitties and people who make stunning animations. While it’s tempting to get everyone to love you, focusing your brand on a subject or group of people allows you to more naturally and easily find the people most likely to share your work.

Action: Find what’s compelling about you (or your business) and focus on that.

5. Be you, whoever that is.
Videos of a young Beyoncé show a girl who knows who she is and owns it. It should be obvious at this point that you need to be yourself. Let’s get right to the crux on this one. Pretending to be someone else is like wearing a fake cat suit to a party—you look ridiculous, it’s uncomfortable and everyone can see through the disguise.

Action: Be you.

Here are your Beyoncé branding tips one more time:

Hone.
Evolve.
Be Vulnerable.
Focus.
Be You.

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Suzan Photo by Aimee GieseSuzan Bond – Branding Expert of Suzan Bond & Co. (Denver & New York City)

Suzan Bond is a brand strategist, CMO-for-Hire and the founder of Suzan Bond & Co  Since she was a wee lass Suzan has been obsessed with the study of human behavior, communication and personal presentation.

Suzan started her career helping brands like Accenture, Banana Republic, Sears and Walmart marry their offline marketing and branding efforts with online strategy and execution. She honed her personal branding expertise as an Executive Coach using her unique formula to help professionals craft their personal brand and market themselves. A writer by nature, Suzan wrote a book about intuition and is currently at work on a memoir and a book about personal branding.

Since leaving the corporate world she has guided numerous startups, entrepreneurs and software developers to discover their persona and genuine messaging. She believes that branding should always be organic and true to the person or organization represented rather than artificial or overly constructed. Her favorite saying is: All you have to be is you.

After growing up just outside Detroit, Suzan’s wanderlust drove her to live in San Francisco, Chicago, Boulder/Denver, Minneapolis and finally New York…for now. By the age of 16 Suzan had visited all of the continental states except one. A devout Twitterer, she’s proud that Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction RT’ed her. Twice.

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