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Beyonce & Jay-Z: How A Divorce Could Affect Their Brands

30 Jul

Just to be clear, before we dive into this conversation, I’m a hardcore fan of The Carters. All of these rumors about a potential divorce frightens all of their fans. However, at this time, they’re nothing more than rumors. Let’s remain positive.

The Carters have been together for 10 years and are perceived to be pop-culture’s favorite couple. They’re worth more than $900 million and have been changing the definition of “music marketing” for some time. Jay-Z’s partnership with Samsung helped him to sell 1M albums in one day. As a part of her $50-million Pepsi deal, Beyonce released exclusive tracks with them and dominated the Super Bowl Halftime show.

So if divorce were to happen – which I hope it doesn’t –  what would it mean for their individual brands? Here are my thoughts …

Jay-Z’s Brand

Hip hop is one of the largest music genres of all time. “Do you listen to hip hop?” is a common question that comes up in social conversations. Jay-Z’s the rapper that gives street credibility to everyone, even the guy who doesn’t listen to any other hip hop artist. He’s the one rapper no one has anything negative to say about. We currently see HOV in the press quite often – at award shows, touring and releasing new music. In the event he and Mrs. Carter go their separate ways, I think Jay will go “Dr. Dre” on us. What that means is he’ll continue to work just as hard but he’ll do it behind the scenes. RocNation Sports, RocaWear and all of his music initiatives will become first priority. I don’t see him focusing a lot more on his solo career. Instead, I think he’ll continue to partner with younger musicians (Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, J. Cole) to maintain his street credibility.

Beyonce’s Brand

Mrs. Carter. Mrs. Carter. Mrs. Carter. A friend recently posted a Facebook status that pretty much summarizes my thoughts on how a divorce could affect Bey’s brand: “Sorry to hear about the divorce rumors but I’m prepared to purchase my ‘Mrs. Knowles Tour’ tickets.” Beyonce’s probably the best music entertainer we’ve seen since Michael Jackson. She is the face of female empowerment and surprisingly, in the era of social media, still maintains her “celebrity” status. Emotionally, I can only imagine how difficult a divorce is but professionally, it wouldn’t even be a bump in the road for Bey. She would continue to sell out world tours, surprise us with new albums and be a great role model. When celebrities are single, they’re perceived to be more desirable. There are plenty of brands that base campaigns on desirability and attractiveness. As a single woman, Beyonce would become a major spokeswoman target.

When it comes to Jay and Bey rumors, I never believe them (unless there’s video footage). So just to reiterate what I said earlier, I don’t wish divorce on anyone. If The Carters ever decide to separate, they’ll both continue to do well, professionally. How do you think a divorce would affect Beyonce and Jay-Z’s individual brands?

Nicki Minaj Drives Perfume Sales By Leveraging Social Following

21 Jul

When Onika Maraj (Nicki Minaj) brags about being a “Boss A** B***,” she’s not joking. The A-List pop icon partnered with HSN to release an exclusive fragrance for her perfume line. Originally, the fragrance was only going to be available for one day but due to an overwhelming amount of purchases and social chatter, they extended the offer an extra day. The program itself was 1-hour long, both days. Along with Nicki Minaj, hosts Colleen Lopez and Callie Northagen, spent a great deal of the broadcast driving social chatter. #NickiAtHSN was the official hashtag and Nicki threw to it often during the live airing.

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During my MTV days, one of our biggest asks would be for talent to throw to a hashtag on-air. It would always surprise us how fast the hashtag would start trending worldwide after this tactic so I totally get why HSN and Nicki pushed for it. Reading and responding to tweets in real time was also a pretty strong on-air integration tactic that helped to drive sales. Leading up to the broadcast, Nicki shared promotional images with her 18M Twitter followers and her 6M Instagram followers. This led to the hashtag trending worldwide for the majority of the day, during each broadcast.

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Nicki’s made it very clear that she understands she’s much more than an artist – she’s a brand. Jay-Z’s partnership with Samsung and Beyonce’s partnership with H&M shows that they too understand how to use their gifts to bring in serious revenue. I truly love Nicki’s partnership because she knew her social reach would allow her to drive sales in real time.

The first day she sold out of the 9k bottles that were available so she returned for a second day to sell another 16k (25k in total). Nuts! Each bottle was sold at $59.50. That’s $1.4M she made in two days. As she often says, “Don’t sleep on The Kid.” I can’t wait to see which A-Lister will adopt this model next. Have you seen any other celebrities use their social following to drive product sales? 

New Blog Name: They Call Me Social K

3 Jan
A lot has changed for me over the last year — professionally and personally. I’m living in my favorite city, working for one of my favorite brands and meeting someone great everyday. My former title of this blog — The PR Nerd — no longer

 represented me anymore so I decided to change it to ‘They Call Me Social K.’
I’ll still be posting my nerdy social media, marketing and PR-focused posts but I’ll also be giving you guys a look into my personal life. 2012 should be a great year and I’m looking forward to investing more time into my blog.

Is Kelly Rowland’s New Image Good For Her Brand?

16 Jun

Can we talk about Kelly Rowland‘s new image? For years, Kelly was branded as a classy woman. While I am happy she is having success with her

latest single “Motivation,” I’m concerned with what it will do to her brand. She is getting very “Keri Hilson” on us, right? I don’t want to think about Kelly as a freak in the bed, I want think of her as a classy woman who can be brought home to meet someone’s mother. I have been (and always will be) a Kelly fan. I had this conversation on Facebook a few days ago with friends who had very interesting opinions.

I would love to hear thoughts from you all. What do you think about her new image? Is it negative? Is it something that can hurt her in the long-run?

Entertainment PR Chat (#entprchat) is Back by Popular Demand

13 Apr
Lights, Camera, Action … Entertainment PR Chat – a monthly Twitter chat – will be re-launching on April 20th from 8 – 9 p.m. EST. This chat will be a monthly discussion moderated by Pegah Rashti (@pegahrashti) and myself

Entertainment PR Chat

(@kionsanders). Our goal: to build a community for professionals working in the entertainment industry. We will come together once a month to discuss issues, trends, social media and current events in entertainment & fashion marketing and PR.

Will you be joining us? If you have any questions, tweet us @entprchat or email us at entprchat@gmail.com

Celebrity Brand Ambassadors … Maybe?

10 Feb

A brand that’s trying to create awareness + a celebrity who has a decent following = a ton of revenue and publicity, right? … Not!

For as long as I can remember, PR and marketing professionals have been working with celebrities for various awareness/publicity campaigns. Some of the partnerships are amazing and others are … less than amazing. In order to have a great partnership, professionals have to follow a certain formula:

Research (finding out who your target audience is and completing an audit on the celebrity) + Planning (creating goals, strategics and tactics) + Execution (tactfully acting on all things planned) + Measurement (seeing if you met your goals and saw ROI) = a great campaign.

A celebrity’s likability and beliefs should also be determining factors for marketing and PR heads. Some of my favorite celebrity-brand matches are: Diddy and Ciroc, Scott Disick and Astor & Black and Beyonce and L’Oreal.

A few days ago, I posed the question “How do you feel about celebrities as brand ambassadors? Will this tactic always be common or will it fade?” to my Twitter followers. Below are a few of their responses:

 

Jenni Lewis

Gail Siderman

What are some of your favorite brand-celebrity matches? Do you foresee this always being a common tactic or will it fade?

Let Kanye Be Kanye

17 Nov

Today’s post is part II of a two-part series. Yesterday, I shared my opinion on this situation and today, PR professional Brandon Vaughan is sharing a guest post with his opinion (which is slightly different than mine).

I would first like to say that this post is not a rebuttal to Kion’s. I, too am a big fan of Kanye (or “Yeezy” as most fans call him) and I was also taken aback after seeing his interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. However, I can’t say that I was very surprised by his reactions during the interview. This isn’t the first time that he has ill-expressed himself in front of millions, and I think it’s easy for many to say Kanye will be Kanye. That said, a controversial response from Kanye is not something new, but specifically this time, rather than being disgusted at his actions, I empathized with him.

Empathy and sympathy are two similar, but fundamentally different things (during the interview Kanye also mentioned that he ‘empathized’ with George Bush), and to truly empathize is to show compassion for. I find compassion in the emotional verity of Kanye’s response.This is not the first time we have seen Kanye react so emotionally, in fact his facial expressions and obvious emotional discontent are very similar to those seen in his original, infamous ‘Hurricane Katrina Response’.

“Now all I need is y'all to pronounce my name / It's Kanye - But some of my plaques - they still sayKayne”

As PR professionals, it is our job to make sure our clients represent themselves in the most positive (or appropriate) manner, however it is also our job to make sure that their representation is indicative of their reality.  Based on what we can glean from reported information, I think that Susie Arons from Rubenstein Communications did everything she was supposed to do as a professional PR practitioner. As hired counsel, she successfully recommended to Kanye that he cancel his interview (perhaps because she felt that he was unprepared), and there was probably not much that she could do when he decided to change his mind hours later.

As a client, Kanye was well within his right to abstain from Ms. Aron’s advice, but  I think that proper and complete media training would have helped him to express his thoughts more effectively. Pain and frustration are seldom simple to express. The purpose behind media training isn’t to ‘coach answers’, rather it exists to give clients the skills they need to express themselves clearly and concisely.  Beyond the controversy of the statements themselves, I think Kanye came to the Today Show with a lot of things that he wanted to say, but he came without the tools that he needed. I do think Lauer’s purpose was to elicit a reaction, and subsequent apology from Kanye for his past reactions, but I also don’t think that Kanye was ready, or willing to give him those.

“Yeezy taught me.”

Fans of George Bush or Taylor Swift might not like Kanye very much based on his comments, but frankly, they probably didn’t like him much before his outbursts. In the days since his Today Show appearance, Kanye’s friends like JayZ, Selita Ebanks, Common and even Hip-Hop guru Russell Simmons have expressed their support for Kanye, with Simmons saying in “An Open Letter to Kanye West, “there is no need to apologize, Kanye. You spoke from your heart and that is all we will ever ask from you.”

He’s outlandish. He’s uncontrollable. He’s an interviewer’s nightmare, and yet, through his perfect imperfections, he remains truthful to himself.

I am not excusing any of Kanye’s actions, rather I’m saying : Let Kanye be Kanye.

Do you think Kanye should give media training another go?

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