When Beyonce dropped her new album, "Lemonade," last weekend, the world sat up and took notice.
It seems like everyone these days wants to get noticed, including startups and entrepreneurs. Here are 3 things we can learn from Beyonce when it comes to incredibly powerful branding:
1. Be bold.
Tracks on "Lemonade" are polarizing and controversial. In one, Beyonce literally burns down a house. She's a force to be reckoned with, and the following never seemed to cross her mind: "Is this too much?" "Should I make it more 'mainstream' to please my audience?" "What if people don't like it?"
When it comes to your brand, don't be afraid to have a strong voice and stick with it. Not everyone is going to like it, but that's not the point. The point is to attract those who are a match for you and what you have to offer, and then serve them like crazy.
Don't tone yourself down. Turn yourself up.
2. Be collaborative.
Beyonce partnered with a number of other extraordinary artists to for the album. She didn't rely solely on her own talent and determination -- she put herself around others who inspire and ignite her.
Those Beyonce teamed up musically with include Soulja Boy, Father John Misty, Diplo, Ezra Koening (frontman for Vampire Weekend), Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and James Blake. Collaborators in the visual album include Serena Williams, actresses Quvenzhane Wallis and Amandla Stenberg, singer Zendaya, model Winnie Harlow, ballerina Michaela DePrince, and Creole chef Leah Chase.
Collaboration is more than just a nice-to-have; it's a must-have when it comes to unleashing your full potential. Research tells us over and over that teams are superior to individuals when it comes to productivity, innovation, execution, and performance.
Bringing others in isn't just about aligning with them; it's about bringing out the best in you.
3. Be real
We're quickly moving out of an era where things are scripted, forced, and canned, and into one where value is placed on how real you can get.
"Lemonade" isn't a nice, neat, standard ode to pop music. It's raw. It's messy. In it, Beyonce covers relationships, rage, betrayal, commitment, oppression, fidelity, compromise, love, forgiveness, freedom, and family. She doesn't wrap any of them up with a bow, either. The album as a whole is complex, vibrant, and deeply personal.
When Monster Energy drinks came out, they said it was just as important that teachers hated them as that kids loved them. They were honest about who they were and who they weren't. They didn't try to please everyone - they focused on being true to themselves, and by extension, their audience.
Push the envelope on how real you can get with your brand and your audience. If you make a mistake, own it. If you don't know what to say, say that. People want openness and authenticity; this is what fosters loyalty and creates superfans.
Beyonce took a major risk with "Lemonade," and so far the response has been overwhelming. Regardless of how you feel about the content, it's a remarkable example of the intimate intersection between personal branding, authentic self-expression, and art.