What Pop Stars, Brands, and Companies Need to Compete in the Digital Age

iggy azalea
Iggy Azalea at the 2014 BRIT Awards in London on February 19, 2014.

Promotion can make or break a product, a song, or a name these days.

Over the weekend rapper Iggy Azalea had a little improtu Twitter Q&A. The Q&A got attention because she was giving a little shade to her most recent duet partner, pop legend Britney Spears.

Spears and Azalea released a single back in early May called Pretty Girls, and they premiered it with a formidable performance at the Billboard Music Awards. However, the little promotion for the single Azalea says is what let the single fail to have a chance at becoming the “song of the summer.” Since Azalea has no control over the song, she can’t perform it on her own. She was simply featured as a guest rapper and co-starred in the music video with Spears.

Whether you’re a product firm, an artist, or running for class president, promotion is what you need to compete in anything. Taking advice from a pop star isn’t always a bad idea, especially from one who has failed.

You need content to compete in 2015. —Iggy Azalea

Both Azalea and Spears have made mistakes in their careers with regards to their public image and promotion. The take away here is to not assume you don’t need promotion for your business or products. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, but you can’t depend on customer or client referrals to your business forever. You can have the most amazing products and services to offer, but if no one knows your business exists, then you will struggle to find success. Also, the more you pop up in the public consciousness you will become more memorable and you will increase your chances for bringing in new customers 10-fold.

Where your business is at factors into what type of promotion you should try and how much to execute.

Let’s look back at the Azalea/Spears dynamic for reference. Britney Spears is a multi-millionaire mother of two who has a lucrative residency contract performing in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood. She also has a billion dollar perfume empire. Iggy Azalea is still in the beginnings of her career, having only made a huge splash last summer with her single “Fancy.” Unfortunately with some bad social media pr, legal troubles and canceling her entire tour, Azalea’s reputation is at a critical juncture. Some are asking if her career is already over. Since last summer, she has accepted awards for her breakout album, been a spokesmodel for brands like Forever21, but she is falling from the radar and public sentiment has swung from terribly negative to irrelevant this past year. Her recent engagement to NBA forward Nick Young has done little to change public perception either.

So say you are a business that has been around for decades, and you have a loyal customer/client base, but have sales been slumping with new competition entering the market? You might want to look into reintroducing your business to your region. That doesn’t mean redoing your logo and look, but why not try a commercial that airs on televison, or search engine marketing so more people stumlbe upon your business? Social media is a very effective promotion strategy that can help both well established businesses and brand new businesses get exposure.

What’s great about social media is the potential it carries. Work with your social media manager and give them the means to create engaging fresh content that will excite a whole new clientele for your business. One business that has gone semi-national near my home has an app that functions as a punch card to reward you for every visit and purchase you make, but it also has games you can play and the points you win can be converted into discounts at their shops.

Maybe an app game doesn’t fit your business, but are you sure you aren’t just letting your company website rest on its laurels?

Read this article about the top 5 website mistakes when it comes to search engine optimization. There are some pretty awful small business websites out there, but because owners are hesitant when it comes to spending in digital, they will continue to not undersand why their business is not bringing in new business. Your website is a first impression to an online user. Your social media page is also a first impression of the character your business. Whether you decide to invest more in the design and look of your website versus the backend is your choice.

You get what you put into your business.

In the case of Azalea and Spears, they are two types of business models in the pop music world. One is getting closer to riding into the sunset, and so puts little effort into promotion. The other, got off to a rough start and needs to be mindful and strategic about their promotion as they continue to try to change public perception. Your business might not even fit into either of these two situations, but you’re either a business that understands what it takes to compete in the digital age or you don’t care.

Promotion is so much more than what it used to be. It’s multi-directional, but it’s crucial to business survival.

Update: Iggy Responds to Questions About her Twitter Comments about “low promotion”