You might not have heard of Joy Villa before this weekend. But since her appearance at the Grammy Awards, the 25-year-old singer's 2014 album I Make The Static has been racing up the charts. It even reached the number one spot on Amazon's list of top 100 digital albums.

The marketing event that powered that burst of sales wasn't a showstopping performance on a stage alongside Beyoncé and Adele. It was her dress. Villa sashayed in front of the cameras, pulled off a white robe and revealed a long blue dress emblazoned with the words "Make America Great Again" on the front and an all-caps TRUMP on the train. At an event better known for political commentary from the other side of the aisle, it was a bold statement.

"Go big, or go home," she wrote on Instagram." You can either stand for what you believe or fall for what you don't. Above all make a choice for tolerance and love. Agree to disagree. See the person over the politics, carry yourself with dignity, always."

Judging by the comments under that post, a lot of people agreed to disagree... particularly with the idea of tolerance and love.

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Villa took a huge risk. She's made a lot of people angry but she's also pleased many others. As she's become known, her Twitter feed has jumped from 15,000 followers to over 100,000 in the space of a few days. Many of those people have chosen to support her stand by buying her music.

It isn't the first time that Villa has tried to use a dress to rustle up publicity. Two years ago she wore an outfit made of orange construction tape and little else. Last year, it was a collection of spikes. Both of those fashion statements won attention but failed to gain traction. It was only when she made a statement about herself, about who she is and how she thinks, that she picked up not just publicity but also engagement and loyalty.

Being authentic is always risky. It's polarizing. You'll lose some people who might have become customers but you'll also gain people who can identify with who you are and how you see the world. You'll get criticism (and in the age of social media, some pretty terrible and hate-filled trolling) but you'll also win attention and sympathy, and best all, the satisfaction that comes from knowing that the brand you're selling genuinely reflects who you are.

Joy Villa isn't the first singer to take a brave stand that differed from that of her peers. And she isn't the first to see it work out well in the end. When the Dixie Chicks told fans at a concert in London in 2003 that they were ashamed "the President of the United States is from Texas," the country band faced boycotts and was denounced by conservative disc jockeys. By the end of 2015, the singers were the top selling all-female band and America's biggest-selling country group.

It might take courage to be different but Joy Villa's success at this year's Grammy awards has shown that while being half-dressed is risqué being genuine is risky... and much more effective.