In the music world (and the world in general) it's a widely accepted fact that Beyoncé is Queen. It's not just her music, her sweet dance moves, her all female drum line, and that hot sauce in her bag, she's a proper shrewd business woman who understands how to werk online and offline engagement in ways that boost her brand and staying power. Remember when she banned photographers from her world tour after unflattering images emerged? That image is locked up.
ON THE OTHER HAND.
While there are some who believe Kanye can do no wrong, there are others who think Ye's methods are spastic, unedited, and unpredictable, but not in a business savvy way. Though there is much more to Yeezy than shoes and strange Twitter outbursts, his lack of self-control is one of the reasons he's *maybe* $53 million in debt.
From a marketing perspective we're breaking down #facts.
Pressing the Button When It’s Hot
Did anyone see Formation coming when it dropped on us that week like a gift from the heavens? Probably not. Beyoncé has mastered the art of surprise by releasing music without marketing it at all. With loyal and powerful fans like The Bey Hive, they flock to anything Queen Bey drops. Everything she touches is essentially gold, and her marketing strategy is making sure that it drops at the right time. There’s no teasing - no keeping you waiting. However, as we saw with Formation, releasing the video right before the Super Bowl was the perfect opportunity to have millions of eyes glued to their screens that Sunday and start a conversation that is still keeping some people a little salty.
Kanye on the other hand…
For months now, Kanye has been tweeting endlessly about his album The Life of Pablo (formerly known as Waves, formerly known as SWISH). Okay, we get it Kanye, you can’t make up your mind. It’s ironic that the new album talks about things that were just trending a month ago, however, we can see that timeliness is not Kanye’s forté when it came to releasing TLOP. We kept waiting…and waiting…until finally, he released it. Last time I remember, the album was supposed to be released on February 11th, but Kanye must have missed the calendar alert and remembered that he needed to release three days later. Trust us, we understand the need for perfection, but we're not sure if stalling is the best strategy to keep your fans waiting, especially when you’ve been hyping it up for months.
The Medium Is Not the Message
Formation is on Tidal. The Life of Pablo is on Tidal. Guess who’s not forcing us to listen to their music on Tidal?
It seems like everyday Kanye is force-feeding Tidal to us, but is Beyoncé forcing us to listen to Formation on there? No. It makes us think, was The Life of Pablo truly the masterpiece that Kanye has been getting us ready for the past two years, or was it just an album to get people to give in to Tidal? Kanye keeps stressing how “cool and great” Tidal is, but Beyoncé released the video, left it for streaming on Tidal, and her work was done. With the song and video released and a mind-blowing performance that started a very heated nationwide conversation, it was evident that Beyoncé’s message extended far beyond that “hot sauce in my bag” lyric. Beyoncé is well aware of the power her name and brand holds, and doesn’t need to constantly push her fans, because she knows how they will react.
Although Kanye is authentic and speaks what’s on his mind with no filter, he doesn't consider the reaction his fans and followers will have to anything he says, endorses, or releases. Granted, it is his brand, however, the lack of strategic marketing and awareness of what his fans respond well to can definitely dilute the power behind the brand. Kanye is essentially a persistent salesman that won’t stop knocking at your door, but he needs to face the #facts, and learn that nobody likes it when they’re being sold.
Lack of strategic marketing & awareness of what his fans respond well to can definitely dilute the power behind the brand.
Is All Press Good Press?
Safe to say that most of the times that Kanye is on a headline, it doesn’t put him in the best light. And after Formation, press for Beyoncé has seen the good, bad, and ugly. However, both Bey and Ye know that everything that they do is under a microscope when it comes to press, and both have reacted in significantly different ways.
Just yesterday, Kanye made headlines ranting about Taylor Swift, his album, and oh what a surprise, Tidal. There's a vicious circle to the Kanye show because everything he says or tweets is bound to make headlines. More often than not, it’s not positive. However, he’s very well aware of this, and only continues to fuel to fire. But noise for the sake of noise? At a certain point people will change the station. What is he truly talking about besides himself? Is he really using the press to show that he is the next Pablo, or are we missing the real masterpiece?
In Beyoncé’s case, although there’s been both negative and positive comments about Formation and the Super Bowl performance, she has directed the conversation to address a much bigger societal issue about race and the importance of being unapologetically black. She has ignited an important discussion, whereas Kanye’s message gets lost in translation.
Queen vs. King aside, if there' s one we've learned it's that staying cool, collected, composed, and savvy a la Beyoncé is the way to go. Know the power behind your brand, use it strategically, yet always be unapologetically *professionally* you.
In the words of Formation, “always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.”