Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Devastation 2010: The Year Bad Publicity Equaled Great Branding

The year is coming to an end and we are all anticipating the awesome future that 2011 holds, but 2010 was a year that I would describe as "tone setting." This was the year of branding and brands who seek to advance should really analyze some of the top brands of 2010 to infuse an IMC plan that will generate revenue for their product or services. However, I recall some brands that made me raise an eyebrow and even some that I am still trying to discover how they're successful.

2010 was the year of bad publicity. The technique of creating pity to help with the resurfacing of brands was a move that many "dead" brands used to bounce back. This became evident through the Tiger Woods scandal, the Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj rap beef and Fiji closing one of it's plants.

The Tiger Woods scandal was negative, but for months he was in the public eye. Who was his mistresses? What did he have to say for himself? Why did he cheat on his wife? The killer of Tiger Wood's image was his press conference he gave to formally apologizing for his actions which turned into being last stab to the heart for his image. Effect PR would've either had Tiger address the public where he address the issue without addressing the issue. He should have focused on his next career moves and how he has grown from what I call "real life situations." The press conference was a set up for failure and didn't do his brand any justice if he was out to recover his image.Nevertheless, Tiger Woods is still admired and respected and I even seen a few tweets calling him a "pimp." Maybe he listned to a Lil Kim album?

Nicki Minaj vs. Lil Kim has awaken Hip Hop, but has made Lil Kim's relevance in the music world flourish. Years after she dropped her highly anticipated album "THE NAKED TRUTH," Lil Kim resurfaced after Nicki Minaj took lyrical shots at her via one of her songs. This created a frenzy and had media running amuck between the two Femcees. This is bad publicity for women in hip hop who continues to fight for the equal opportunities as men in the rap industry. Serving as two of the most lyrically equipped female Lyricists, Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim "beefing" is damaging the opportunity for women to collectively come together and help hip hop advance.

Nicki Minaj solely is a brand that has helped her break records. Her first week of sales for her debut album PINK FRIDAY was 375,000 copies which made her the 2nd highest selling female in record sales during debut week. This year Nicki Minaj crossed over from an urban brand to a brand that is now mainstream. Her approach to the business shows that she has studied the industry and has a PR/Marketing team that closely works together to create the character the world has learn to love named Nicki Minaj. Although I am not a fan, I must admit that the branding of Nicki Minaj was the brand that has impressed me the most this year. Despite her irritating voice, confusing lyrics and bipolar like songs she is liked by many girls who all embrace the HEAD BARBIE as they sworn in to be her Barbies and Ken Dolls. I think Nicki Minaj's branding technique is dope and I wouldn't be surprised if she drank FIJI water everyday.

FIJI water is one of the most sought after bottled water and it caused a frenzy when it announced the closure of one of it's water plants due to the tax increase of bottled water on the island of Fiji. Being the highest selling bottled water in the United States the response to this closing of the only FIJI water plant caused an uproar. Many scrambled to stores to retrieve the drink and buy what they thought was going to be the last of the crisp, refreshing water they grew to love. The exposure of this shocking act not only help FIJI as a brand become more appreciated, but it helped with sells and making the competition nonexistent. The plant reopened and we still have FIJI, but the relevance of the company only enhanced.

These are brands that used or had bad publicity that increased their relevance in the world. Others include the former R&B boy band member Raz B of B2K who consistently used accusations of sexual encounters with other males to gain media exposure, Antoine Dodson with his "Hide Your Kids Hide Your Wife" song/news story, Kat Stacks who used her sexual encounters with celebrities to build her inconsequential brand and Sydney Starr who also used her encounters with celebrities to claim to fame as the "Hip Hop Tranny."

These brands were short lived and are examples of individuals that does things in efforts to create a brand. The thing is that these brands never last and is an example of how PR/Brand Management needs to grab the reins in 2011 and really get exposure for the talented and essential brands the world has yet to discover. Effective branding should NOT use bad publicity to create a buzz or exposure, but develop an EMP (Effective Marketing Plan) to create a diverse, likeable entity that all can appreciate and admire which will lead to dollars being invested into the brand.

In 2011 the focus for all Publicists, Marketers and Brand Managers should be DIRECTION. Have a clear direction for your brand and ensure that you are ready for when disaster strikes. Bad Publicity can ALWAYS turn into the opportunity to create good publicity. It is your approach that matters. I salute the downfalls in 2010 and learn form them, but 2011 I am ready to direct, enhance and advance!