PR Tips | Beyonce’s PR Surprise

PR Tips | Beyonce’s PR Surprise

When was the last time you heard about a musician whose album released without a peep? No album promotion in interviews, singles, concerts, music videos, or Saturday Night Live hosting gigs. Well, artist Beyonce did just that when she defied all conventional wisdom by not doing a shred of publicity prior to her self-titled album launch last month.

There was no crescendo, no drumming up of anticipation and excitement — a total sneak attack. Beyonce worked on the album secretly for about a year before releasing it exclusively to iTunes. She made countless appearances during that time but never led on to the fact that she was recording a new album that fans would kill to know about. She had the confidence that it would be clamored over, whether people knew about it 6 months in advance or not.

So how’d the PR plan pan out? Apple says it sold 828,773 copies of the album in three days. And it’s No.1 on Billboard charts for the third week in a row, which is the longest run for any album since April.

The PR plan clearly embraced the element of surprise — in hopes that mystified fans would flock to iTunes to learn more about the secret album. Not to mention all the money and energy that was saved by solely concentrating on creating and perfecting the songs themselves, and not promoting them.

It’s fascinating when someone does something totally unpredictable and seemingly illogical. Indeed, you can generate a lot of interest that way if you’re smart about it. So every once in a while, take a step back and rethink popular belief — whether that belief applies to PR tactics, marketing, or something else. Sometimes it really pays off to take a wild and different approach.

Laura Scharfeld