Very few people have a brand so well-known they can be recognized sans last name — Beyoncé is one of those people. Her rapper/business mogul husband Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, is worth $900 million alone, according to Forbes. Aside from their accumulated billionaire wealth, they’re also renowned for their undeniable talent, philanthropic giving, obsessive fans (#TeamBeyHive), private demeanor, business ventures, and for breaking the internet the second either of them make an unexpected move — which, for the record, is very often.
Needless to say, this powerhouse couple is doing a whole lot right.
Two-hundred and fifty-three point five million dollars — that’s what the Carters grossed on their latest On The Run II (OTRII) joint world tour which they brought to a close last month. Having had the pleasure of witnessing them live in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, I realized their brands go beyond star-power. They are succeeding, decades after they first took the stage, due to some very strategic moves that business owners can emulate.
Exclusivity Branding Creates a Mysterious Lure
In a world where every move can be tracked, and most celebrities are sharing their drama as well as their lunch, the Carters keep the happenings in and around their world very private. They strategically share, actively hide, and make every calculated move dramatic.
Only in the last year or so, fans are seeing Princess Blue Ivy frequently, and she’s six. Their twins are over a year old and fans can count on one hand the full-face images they’ve seen of them. Images, by-the-way, they have shared. Not to mention, we have yet to see wedding photos outside of the short clip they shared on their first joint tour. It’s important to note here that their wedding took place over a decade ago.
Aside from hiding their personal business, big events, and kids, they are known for dropping albums without warning and privately travelling the globe as well.
This lack of sharing makes them mysterious, and this intrigues fans (and haters alike) to lean in and pay closer attention before they miss the next big reveal.
While one would immediately think that this is a branding dead-zone for a regular business operating in a world that values transparency, allow me to explain how it can work:
Entrepreneurs often drop hints about the launch of new products, store fronts, and websites. They also readily share the behind-the-scenes for any articles they’ll be appearing in. The Carters would never – leave an element of surprise occasionally to keep your tribe on their toes.
Strategic Transparency Pays, Literally
While the Carters are very private, they certainly see the value of strategic transparency. That is sharing intimate, private moments, but planning it first (and typically, sharing them hours, days, or months after they occur), usually after someone has paid for an album, show ticket, or after HBO has paid them mega-bucks for an exclusive peek. For instance, they often show video footage of special moments on tour. On the latest OTRII tour attendees witnessed a loved-up couple slow dancing, while Bey had a third-trimester-pregnant-with-twins-belly, they “awwwed” in unison when Jay-Z was shown painting his daughter Blue’s finger nails, and got choked up at the sight of the Carters renewing their vows with the shortest full frontal clip of twins, Rumi and Sir.
People know that they do this so when the couple announces a new tour, fans worldwide purchase with a swiftness. The OTRII tour also attracts the rich and famous, seeming to have more celebrity appearances than the Grammys with the likes of Oprah, Gayle, Mariah Carey, Smokey Robinson, Jesse Williams, Da Brat, Travis Scott, Tyga, Zoe Saldana, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher, Dakota Johnson, Jill Scott, Kevin O’Leary, and The Kardashians to name a few.
It is the Carters’ strategic transparency that assisted them in grossing $253,500,000.00 on this star-studded tour.
Business owners, too, can bank on this method of strategic transparency by sharing special announcements, offers, and certain products exclusively with paid membership purchasers at the end of a paid webinar training, speaking engagements, or private shopping events. This VIP treatment creates F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out), and those who were not able to attend are likely to hop on board quickly next time.
Diversify Your Basket of Tricks
The Carters are not a one trick pony, and their ability to sprinkle their skills where they fit best has allowed them to be the mega successes they are today.
Jay-Z is arguably one of the greatest rappers of all times, but aside from that, he is also the founder of the Roc Nation entertainment company, along with its spin-off Roc Nation Sports, where he is a licensed sports agent for stars like Kevin Durant and Dez Bryant. He is also the owner of Tidal Music (along with a few others), co-owner of the sports bar 40/40 Club in New York, and was the co-creator of the Roca Wear clothing line, among so many other ventures.
And yes, Beyoncé is known for slaying on stage, singing, and dancing her bootylicious assets off, but her latest endeavor? Playing Nala on The Lion King remake set to premier in the summer of 2019. Aside from her acting, writing, and producing efforts, she also has a media company by the name of Parkwood Entertainment that produced movies such as Cadillac Records and Obsessed, and created a perfume line, and owns athleisure clothing line Ivy Park.
The Carters certainly have their hands full, yet in addition to all they do, they make time to give back in massive ways with their charities BeyGood Foundation and the Shawn Carter Foundation.
If you, too, would like to reach your peak greatness as a business owner, you must step outside of your comfort zone, and utilize other skills you have. As an example, if you run a successful chain of salons, you likely have valuable entrepreneurial knowledge you can impart through courses, workshops, and speaking engagements. You could even create your own hair products. If you own a clothing boutique, you can try your hand at designing your own line or creating a convenient inventory management system. If you are an IT expert who troubleshoots computer problems, but you know how to code, you have the option of also creating websites. Of course, these are simply examples — possibilities are boundless when you take time to analyze your skillset and brainstorm ways to profit from them.
Have a “Thing”
Bey (pronounced “bee”) has had the symbol of a bee linked to her brand for as long as I can remember and after her notorious Lemonade visual album, fans have been dropping lemon and bee emojis everywhere. For Jay-Z, his thing has always been the Roc-A-Fella hand sign, where fans throw their hands up in the shape of a diamond. Even Oprah tried her hand at the latest concert, and went viral on Instagram.
Having a “thing” builds a stronger brand as it helps your fans/customers resonate with your message and create a community of their own around it. When you are not around and that “thing” comes in view, they will recall your business, and it plants a subconscious seed to revisit your business or contact you.
To provide you with a real-life example of this, yellow is my primary brand color and I cannot count how often I get tagged in posts of all things “yellow” from those who follow me online, sharing it reminded them of me.
Your thing may be a word, a quote, an animal, an image, a color, anything – what it is doesn’t matter nearly as much as the consistency of sharing it to imprint on the mind of your audience.
The Carters are business masterminds, and its time for business owners to take multiple pages from their book of mastery.