Beyoncé schooled the music world with the release of her new record, announced with a simple one word “Surprise!” (the caption of the Instagram video that she shared with her 8M followers). It was the social media update heard around the world, led to record tweets and sales in short order, and some to wonder whether music promotion would ever be the same. Soci like Spotify.
The NY Times wrote:
The release of a blockbuster album has historically come a few standard marketing moves. Flood the radio with an early single. Book as many TV appearances as possible. Line up partnerships with big retailers and consumer brands.
The stealth rollout of the album, “Beyoncé,” upended the music industry’s conventional wisdom…
In bypassing the industry’s traditional promotional machinery, she demonstrated social media’s power to amplify news and to forge a direct connection to her audience…. [It] showed the marketing value of no marketing.
What does the episode mean for the future of PR and marketing? For starters, it is likely to add to the debate about the continued relevance of press releases, PR and even media in launches and other promotions. After all, why go through the bother of conducting an elaborate PR campaign and winning over the media when you can forge such a direct connection and rally your customers to action via social media?
If you work in tech PR, however, as I do, then I would be careful about such knee jerk reactions. Most tech companies (especially B2B) don’t have legions of rabid fans that are hanging on every move and desperate for new product. In the tech PR world, the goal is often to communicate with audiences beyond customers, including channel partners, influencers, job seekers and investors.
Earning media and influencer validation through PR can help pave the way to the adoption of tech.
I do think a good lesson for the tech crowd and other industries is to be open to innovative ways of sharing and breaking news.
Stay tuned to this blog, I will be writing much more about this in the coming weeks