How did you react to the image of a young woman twerking in an almost nude costume on stage in a national music award show while sticking out her tongue? You know who I am talking about right? If not I would have to ask you where have you been the last few weeks? Just a confession I never knew what twerking meant till that night
A lot of commotion these days about Miley Cyrus and her new created image. Some absolutely love her and some just hate her. Both camps are talking about it everywhere, the conversations are going on all the social media channels where communities of people with strong opinions and fierce loyalties are taking sides either good or bad, the conversations are ranking Miley Cyrus higher on the search engines, increasing her twitter followers by 100%, getting millions of views in traffic to her YouTube videos and making Miley Cyrus, Twerking and new album buzz words that have the highest searchable traffic meaning more revenues for the label.
According to Forbes Beat Reporter, Zack O’Malley Greenburg, since the racy performance, Cyrus has sold 90,000 digital downloads of her new track “Wrecking Ball,” which moved into the 13th spot in the Billboard charts. Her Twitter activity rose 112% in one week. She added 226,273 new Facebook fans and 213,104 new Twitter followers.
Many, after the very famous show of the MTV awards, classified Miley as another wrecked child star, going over the deep end as Lindsey Lohan or Britney spears, some accused her of being alcoholic or even a drug addict. What they didn’t see is the genius planning for Miley Cyrus Re-branding
Let us talk for a second about branding a rebranding and why Cyrus chose to do it. These are the reasons I see behind Miley deciding to re-brand her image:
1- She just turned 21 years old
2- People still looked at her as the innocent Hannah Montana
3- Hannah Montana huge following are grown up now and needed more than Montana
4- All children and teen stars reach a level in their career where they must progress, become someone else, rebrand or just go with the wind.
5- She wants to remain relevant while growing her fortune by trying ti become an eternal pop icon like Madonna (whom she made the comparison with) and Montana’s image will not sustain that
So what is branding exactly?
Branding is the image, perception or promise a product, label projects to their audience (for the sake of this article we will be discussing the branding and re-branding of Miley Cyrus’ label)
The Re-branding process Miley and her crew planned was strategically and smartly executed, coming out of the teen age years, reaching the legal age of 21, they organized her shocking appearance at the MTV awards in a very skimpy outfit, presenting the new sexy symbol Miley Cyrus
What did that do? It killed all assumptions about any left innocence of Montana. My only concern is that Miley burned her bridges with Montana’s multi-million label, its stakeholders and fans.
There was no fear or doubt regarding that performance, Miley went for the kill in that re-branding exercise and she delivered, and as a result her social media influence soared and she created millions of loyal fans overnight.
Why did the Miley Cyrus rigorous re-branding process succeed? They sticked to the proper re-branding strategies:
1- Re-Branding process can be gradual and slow or can be explosive leaving a lasting effect, Miley and her crew obviously believe in the principle that it is easier to tear a house down and rebuild it then remodel which has been applied with major force
2- She knows exactly who she is, who the audience she has, needs or wants, knows who to listen to, who not to bother with, and targets her segment market the way they want to be targeted
3- She found out what separates her from others and rebuilt her new primary identity around it even if it means be a sex symbol
4- She is filling a void that is present in the market right now for someone her age and her type of music to satisfy this audience needs and wants
5- Because of the demographics she is trying to reach she is crafting her core message as “Be free, be yourself no matter who you are and keep discovering yourself; Accept who you are and embrace it” which is a very strong message these days of we consider all the bullying going on in schools
6- She eliminated the unnecessary to her (Hannah Montana) in order to clarify her message and not dilute her new brand or confuse her audience
7- Miley and her team have a plan, they have a strategy to create the right re-branding process, re-invent Miley with a creative new impression to her audience. They knew how to leave a memorable effect (good for some, bad for some) that MTV performance night, and on every occasion since then
8- They are creating a new label brand position, voice, visual look, new way of responding to her new fans, new interviews, new way of dressing, and new shows
9- They measured the impact, though the long term implications are still unclear, the short term impact shows effectiveness. Miley Cyrus has never been more famous, she is on the top of the charts, with the highest number of followers on social media, her album is selling like no one else. She performed at the AMA awards, was a contender for the Time magazine annual cover along with the Pope, Snowden, and General Sissi of Egypt. She was also interviewed by Barbara Walters as one of the 10 most influential people of 2013.
10- They are letting others say fr them: Miley is engaging millions on social media, social media discussions and communities have a ripple effect so one tweet or one Facebook page can turn to thousands of comments, interaction that mostly translate to sales and revenues for the brand label
The main challenge to Miley’s re-branding process is longevity, if she believes deeply and securely in her new brand she will be able to pull it, as brands depend on authenticity and if she doesn’t feel that inside, others will not either
We see brands buzz every now and then and some are like a sugar high that crashes fast, some re-branding persists and becomes stronger than the original brand examples of labels successful rebranding are Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and Beyonce.
We have to wait and see. I honestly do not like or hate Miley Cyrus as a performer, I just admire the marketing re-branding approach that she and her crew planned and executed. At this point I am not sure what to expect from Miley Cyrus and this is exactly the image that she wanted to give, so her audience will be always anticipating her next move i.e. her next shock wave.
Let me know what you think.
Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
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