I’m a little late to the game with this piece but Miley Cyrus’ recent eye opening stunts have been discussed, dissected to the point where we’ve all come to the conclusion that she is heading towards the path of former teen stars who pushed the boundaries of sanity and publicity stunts and fizzled out to be never heard from again.
I think there’s a great marketing lesson to be learned from Miley Cyrus. She’s a perfect example of how you can market products and become a household brand overnight. It takes a little bit of everything – approach, timing and the help of the social community.
Here are 6 lessons brands can learn from Miley Cyrus’ recent string of newsworthy headlines.
Promotion requires the right timing
Promoting content or products at the opportune moment is all the rage these days. Social media allows for content to be delivered at exact moments for users to consume. Ad targeting lets brands target specific individuals with specific products at exactly the moment of purchase. Miley picked the right platform to promote herself and her brand. We always knew who she was but after the MTV stunt, she became a household name (even if it was for the wrong reasons). Her VMA performance set a record for most tweets per minute, 306K/minute.
Brands need to know when the right moment may be for them. It may not always be the big award show with millions of viewers or a specific holiday but could be moments after competitors have pulled back or aren’t as present. It doesn’t work for every brand but understanding where you get the most exposure will benefit how many people actually are aware of your product or content.
Miley Cyrus did an excellent job following up her VMA performance with other attention grabbing headlines, which have continued to keep people talking about her. First was her new single, Wrecking Ball, performed nude on top of a wrecking ball with her tongue sticking out (it’s her signature, if you haven’t already figured it out). Then came the Rolling Stone cover with her tongue sticking out again. This past week she dropped another controversial headline to Matt Lauer – after 40, sex is nonexistent.
Brands need to do the same – follow-up with great products or content. In the social space, promoted content will increase engagement and reach new users but if they don’t engage with any additional content, then the promoted content didn’t completely do its job. Brands need to have strong follow-ups to any kind of content or product release. Take Apple for example. During the years from 2001 to 2010, they had arguably the greatest decade of innovation ever. They introduced one great product after another. From the original iPod to the iPod Nano, the iPhone and then the iPad, turning a fledging company into the most iconic tech company in the world. Remember, your follow up is just as important as your original piece of content or product.
You don’t have to always create viral content, let others do it for you
After the VMA performance, millions shared GIFs of Miley’s performance. Everyone had an opinion about the performance from the team at Buzzfeed to social media sites like Mashable. What each one of these websites did was create greater visibility for Miley Cyrus and she didn’t even have to do a thing. The same thing happened when she launched her “Wrecking Ball” video. A Vine parody took the internet by storm, garnering millions of views, again creating additional visibility without her doing a thing.
In Miley’s case, those sharing the Vine video and GIFs weren’t her advocates but she let others create viral content for her brand to generate greater visibility. Brands need to focus on doing the same. Social media is a great channel to make sure fans and followers can be leveraged to speak on behalf of the brand for greater visibility. However, that requires a two-way dialogue while sharing relevant content that matters to fans. It cannot just be blasting content and hoping it goes viral.
Stay true to your core
Many in the media have questioned why Miley Cyrus does what she does but no one really knows. All we know is that she hasn’t stopped doing it. She’s been true to her core even before her VMA performance. Her antics may not sit too well with many in the media but it is something to be admired. She’s not giving into criticism, looks like she has a plan in mind – one that is propelling her brand forward (even though many of us may never understand).
Her ability to stay on course and not waver when others told her to be a certain way is what many brands need to focus on. Brands tend to take criticism and make dramatic changes to cater to those loud few. Staying on course and continuing to work on your core products is the way to move forward. Competitors will attack your weaknesses but your weaknesses only become a hinderence if you react too soon to every move.
Talent does win out
At the end of the day, in order to be successful, brands still need products and content that performs well. In the case of Miley Cyrus, her talent is undeniable. Her exposure gave her the opportunity to perform on Saturday Night Live, letting her talent win over “haters”. After her SNL performance, the web was raving about her great performance. Many forgot that only a few days ago they were criticizing her for antics on magazine covers and award shows. Great products and content will win over anyone and will lead to greater exposure and most like greater success.
While many of us look at Miley Cyrus as the next teen star gone crazy, I tend to look at her as an opportunist, who is using the public space to showcase her talent but also display her personality. Sometimes, being who you are can intimidate others, but a brand that has solid content to back up great products with measurable goals, can do some pretty amazing things.