Grammy-award winning singer and entrepreneur Rihanna was named the richest female musician in the world in 2019. The 32-year-old has amassed a $600 million fortune, more than others in the category, including those with more seniority than her such as Madonna, Celine Dion, and Beyonce.
The majority of Rihanna's earnings come from her entrepreneurial ventures, rather than her music. She has partnered with French luxury goods brand LVMH, which includes her makeup line, Fenty Beauty, and a clothing house, Fenty. Rihanna also co-owns the Savage X Fenty lingerie line, with TechStyle Fashion Group.
As we celebrate Women's History Month, it seemed fitting to dive a bit deeper into Rihanna's unique approach to her ventures that has helped her attract a massive audience of raving fans and customers. Here are three of her core principles that drive her work.
1. Inclusive marketing isn't optional.
Conventional wisdom in marketing follows the premise that you can't market to everyone, and that any brand that attempts to be for the masses actually appeals to no one. As a result, most companies take painstaking effort to create buyer personas and focused targeting to help them niche down and target a very specific group of customers. But Rihanna and her team ignore that advice, and it has been a major key to their success.
In Rihanna's Amazon documentary chronicling the Savage X Fenty fashion show, Fenty senior vice president Jennifer Rosales explained why Rihanna takes a different approach: "There's not like a target audience. It's for everyone. Everything that she does is for everyone. She wants everyone to feel beautiful, everyone to feel empowered, everyone to feel that strength to become the best version of themselves," Rosales said.
When Fenty Beauty launched, it did it with 40 shades of foundation, to be inclusive of women who had different complexions all around the world. And with the Savage X Fenty lingerie line, Rihanna again is as inclusive as possible with all women, incorporating something for all sizes.
In the 2019 fashion show, the brand featured a broad diversity of models, including transgender, gender nonbinary, amputees, and women of multiple ethnicities and varying body shapes and sizes, in addition to supermodels such as Gigi Hadid.
Consumers, particularly those who have been historically ignored by mainstream brands, love Rihanna's products for their inclusivity. They see themselves reflected in the products and the marketing, which makes them feel like they belong.
2. Elevate the experience beyond what's considered standard.
Delivering remarkable customer experiences is always a good idea to stand out. But far too many brands fall into the rut of following blueprints, templates, and best practices as a way to get predictable results.
According to Rosales, Rihanna moves in the opposite direction of what is considered the norm. In the documentary, she talks about that philosophy as her team approached the planning of the Savage X Fenty 2019 fashion show. "Technically, it's a fashion show, but you know, again, Rihanna doesn't do anything that's already out there, so it's elevating that concept. If the world's going right, we're gonna go left. It's just how she functions in general," Rosales said.
As you work to build a brand that solves your customers' problems like none other, resist the urge to build a customer experience that follows the same norms everyone else does. Instead, blaze your own trail to deliver unexpected experiences your customers will love and will want to share.
3. No detail is too small. Pay attention.
Details matter. But all too often, especially when resources are limited, smaller details aren't a priority, and thus they sometimes detract from the customer experience rather than adding to it.
But to Rihanna, all details matter. In fact, it is in her giving attention to even the most minute details that makes a big difference in the minds of her customers. That's why she has her hand in so many parts of her businesses, especially the smaller details.
"Everything was thought about down to the detail of the tags," Rihanna said, when she spoke about her lingerie line in the documentary. "How they feel, and how easy they are to remove, because no one wants to see a big tag when they're trying to get cute for their special someone."
How you handle the details, even the smallest ones, can mean the difference between winning a customer for life and someone who never comes back.
You can build a brand that your customers adore, and you don't have to have a successful music career to do it. Follow the principles Rihanna has stayed true to, as she has built her massive empire, to guide you along in your quest to build your own.