Beyoncé’s Lemonade has been out for a cool minute now. Long enough for the reactionary thinkpieces to go away assuming what Bey did or didn’t mean by her lyrics, and yet, short enough for people to begin analyzing it from other viewpoints.
I was reading a piece on Fast Company about how the album, both, musically and visually, has inspired other companies to do things differently. Once I got to the part about Owning Your Narrative, I had an aha moment.
People loved or hated the album because Beyoncé made it perfectly clear that it wasn’t for everyone. It was for a specific audience: black women. Whether people were comfortable with that reality or not didn’t matter to her. She was bold enough to dig into deep rooted issues within our community. The decision, I’m sure, wasn’t made lightly. But I believe it strengthened her brand, regardless of the amount of people who feel she alienated them because the music wasn’t specifically for them.
And I love it! Not just from a #BeyHive perspective, but also from a business perspective. We are in some volatile times when it comes to current events. There is so much going on in the world, and as much as some people would like to pretend everything is sunshine and rainbows outside, your business cannot afford to be neutral.
It must’ve been a year or so ago when Luvvie called out some of her friends in the beauty blogging world to use their platform to speak on the events going on in the black community, such as police brutality and high profile cases like Sandra Bland and Eric Garner. While Luvvie received some clapbacks for it, to this day, she stands by her opinion. She uses her visibility and her brand to speak on issues that matter to her.
I think that when your business decides to speak on things that affect people, especially things that affect their target audience, it builds brand loyalty. Anyone can buy a domain from fiftyleven different places. However, a company may come to mind if they have a strong brand presence. Political and social beliefs and stances can easily be rolled into that. So that’s why some people don’t purchase their domains from GoDaddy because of their involvement in some not-so-great environmental issues.
Let’s talk about our beloved Twitter, which came under fire for remaining painfully neutral, all the while wearing a #StayWoke tshirt. That was a slap in the face to a very strong audience the company has: Black Twitter. I get it; you don’t want to step on any toes. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. You want to be inclusive, not exclusive. In all honesty, that can be the very cancer of your brand. If you’re for everybody, you’re for nobody, at the very same time.
You don’t have to speak up on every single issue that comes up in the news. You don’t have to tweet from your brand’s account that you’re for or against Hilary Clinton. You don’t have to turn your brand’s profile picture to a rainbow background to show your support after the tragedy in Orlando. You don’t have to say anything. But I beg you to reconsider. Dig deep. Who is your audience? What are they going to, outside of why they should or should not need your products or services? How can you stay silent on something that so clearly affects your ICA?
If you stand for nothing, you fall for anything. Your audience deserves to have a company who supports them. I guarantee you, in return, they will support you. To help you decide what cause is best for your brand to take a stand for, I created Shout: The Brand Stand Worksheet. Download your copy today.