Beyoncé recently ended her epic 57-date Renaissance World Tour—a critically acclaimed show that featured sky-high sculptures and metallic tanks, mannequin horses, robotic arms, pyrotechnics and ultraviolet technology.
That’s right, Beyoncé ate and left no crumbs with an experience many have lauded as a ‘cultural revolution.’
Sadly, I didn’t manage to get tickets for the tour, but that doesn’t mean the impact of the extravaganza has escaped my attention.
Beyoncé has created a universe that keeps fans engaged, whether in stadiums or their living rooms.
And with the announcement of a cinematic release of the tour film (are we happy? Very! Are we surprised, not one bit), the Renaissance experience continues to evolve and develop.
So, for those of us sat at our desks (rather than on mannequin horses), what exactly can we learn from The Renaissance World Tour?
Social media can add layers to IRL experience
The Renaissance tour was tailored to the social media generation. It was an experience lived in reality, which then found a new home on TikTok and other platforms.
Every huge concert moment will be littered across TikTok, which can often leave fans yet to see the performance feel like they’ve already witnessed most of the show through their tiny handheld screens. Rather than avoid this very real fact - like the star had done previously (she banned phones at a private concert in Dubai, but clips still made their way onto social media) - Beyoncé leaned into this truth, instead using platforms to dictate parts of her show.
Concertgoers would arrive at the stadium already aware of certain moments of the performance that required their participation, resulting in the ‘mute’ challenge in each location.
The lesson here? If you can’t gatekeep content, think about social media’s role within an experience.
The tour was bound to be all over social, but by providing select ‘social media moments’, Beyoncé sneakily dictated how it was being previewed. So, when it comes to brand experience, consider how it can be tailored to build excitement rather than be seen as a spoiler. This meant that those of us watching it on the small screen were witnessing curated moments that allowed fans to feel part of the experience, which will ultimately drive ticket sales to the concert film.
You don’t have to be in partnership with an influencer to leverage their influence
What may be seen as one of the oldest tricks in the marketing playbook has made a comeback this year: product placement.
We saw Rihanna demonstrate its power at the Superbowl, as her flash of a Fenty product led to an 899% increase in Google searches for the brand.
Following in RiRi’s footsteps, Beyoncé’s Ivy Park dropped a new collection mid-tour, being worn by the star and her backing dancers on several occasions.
We witnessed a live advertisement of a separate venture that lives on beyond the three-hour show, acting as the ultimate merch.
More recently, dating rumours between Taylor Swift and NFL player Travis Kelce have led to a 400% sales increase in his jersey. Being a major pop star comes with unparalleled influence, yet brands don’t have to feature these stars in their adverts to leverage their influence.
Beyoncé’s tour is estimated to have given the American economy a $4.5 billion boost. With Depop reporting a 500% increase in sales for items with "Renaissance" in the description or title, the show dictated people’s buying habits. I’m not saying start selling t-shirts with Beyoncé on the front. Think smartly about how your brand fits in.
See tours as cultural moments that offer countless opportunities; view them as the ‘Barbie’ equivalent.
Hobbycraft is a good example. Their TikTok is filled with culturally relevant content, like creating bedazzled outfits for Harry Styles’ tour or jumping on Justin Bieber’s crochet moment. The brand recognises these popstars' mass appeal and makes it relevant to their brand.
Make space for community-led celebration
The Renaissance album is seen as a love letter to the Queer community. Drawing upon the work of Queer Black artists from across a multitude of genres, the Renaissance tour was always geared up to be one big LGBTQ+ celebration.
But this celebration is led by its community—Beyoncé merely acts as the glue that allows her audience a safe space to be unapologetically themselves. Whether that's selecting dancers that represent cultural pinpoints of a community (The Dolls, featuring ballroom star Honey Balenciaga, have their own ballroom segment) or sampling underground drag legends like Kevin Aviance and Moi Renee.
This is a vital lesson. Don’t try and be the voice of your audience, be the facilitator of conversation, and most importantly, celebration.
The best way to celebrate culture is through community.
Moreover, with the pain of marginalised communities comes joy and togetherness. As marketers, we’re often drawn to solving issues and making statements. However, sometimes the greatest statement of all is a celebration of all a community has contributed to the world.
So there we have it. But that isn’t really it. I could bang on about all the lessons learnt from Renaissance. And most importantly, very few people, let alone brands, hold the unfathomable influence that Beyoncé does. So it isn’t as simple as doing a bit of product placement.
But what we can do is witness the evolution of these live experiences, taking inspiration from elements that resonate with audiences and then inject these learnings into our own ideas.
See you in cinemas in December, Beyhive.
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