How Rihanna ‘Works’ Her Music Brand To Pay Her ‘Bigly’

Marketing Moves is a series highlighting Caribbean artistes who use innovative marketing moves to differentiate their brand and music. This week we feature the trailblazing Rihanna from Barbados.

Rihanna got the memo. Apparently the music business does not have a designated pension plan. According to the memo, smart artiste recognize that hype and fame last for a short while, but good money moves last for a lifetime. Rihanna, her PR team and her financial advisors all got the memo and they are building an empire and an undeniable legacy that she and her family can enjoy for a long time to come. She has built a brand that is strong enough to leverage across multiple business ventures that diversify her investment portfolio.

Rihanna is arguably one of the most successful Caribbean artistes of this century. Her international appeal is evident with over seventy (70) million Instagram followers from every corner of the globe. Outside of her well-earned status as a social media influencer; she also has a make-up brand (Fenty Beauty); a sunglass collection (The Dior Rihanna Collection); A lingerie line (Savage X Fenty); a show design (Rihanna x Manolo Blahnik);  a clothing line (Fenty X Puma) and a fragrance (Reb’l Fleur Love Always) and that’s only the things we were able to research. This little island girl is surely making her mark in a sea of business sharks.

One thing that definitely stands out to me about Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s brand is that she is undeniably Caribbean. Yes, she may have crossover success in international markets, but that is only one dimension to who she is. She represents for the region hard. It reveals itself with her strong participation in Crop-over*, to her support of various Caribbean artistes such as Sizzla, Buju Banton and Machel Montano to her various philanthropic gestures in the diaspora. She is, intentionally or not, creating global awareness of the country and the region where she was born.

Her brand is raw, her brand is authentic and her brand is worth at least $245 million as of 2019 according to insider.com.   How did she do it?  Well from the looks of things she made some savvy moves after establishing a strong base in music and she has not looked back since. Here are the top 5 Marketing Moves that Rihanna got right.

 

  • ESTABLISHED A HOME BASE WITH HER MUSIC CAREER

    1. Rihanna is branded as the ‘top selling digital artist of all time,’ which translates to ‘she makes millions of dollars from her music.’ According to her record label Roc Nation, has sold 60 million albums and 215 million digital tracks. In 2016, Rihanna made $7.6 million from streaming, $2.5 million from sales, and $10.1 million in recording royalties, according to Billboard.* She has earned fourteen number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
  • DIVERSIFIED HER PORTFOLIO FROM A PLACE OF AUTHENTICITY

    1. Rihanna partnered with many prominent brands first as a brand ambassador for companies like Balmain, Armani, Mac, and River Island. The partnerships made sense as she continued to build her name as a fashion icon throughout her career and they were perfect complements for the business moves that followed these collaborations.
  • LEVERAGED EXISTING PARTNERSHIPS TO BUILD EVEN MORE

    1. Rihanna started raising the profile of her brand in the fashion industry which allowed her transition to the Puma team to appear very seamless. She went from being a celebrity ambassador for fashion designers to being brought on as a creative director for Puma in 2014 for a one million dollar deal. Her brand appeal secured a loyal following for the designs and within six months footwear sales grew by sixteen percent.
  • EXPANDED HER BRAND AND FAN BASE BY CHAMPIONING THE CAUSE OF ‘INCLUSIVITY’

    1. Building on an already established brand in the fashion industry, Rihanna expanded her base by prioritizing body positivity and inclusivity . This was evident with the release of her new lingerie design which is being marketed to women of all shapes and sizes. This was the same theme with make-up brand.  According to insider.com, ‘Rihanna has advocated for body positivity, saying she feels “very beautiful and confident” even though she’s “not built like a Victoria’s Secret girl.”‘
  • CREATED A SEAMLESS THREAD THAT CONNECTED ALL HER INVESTMENTS

    1. All of Rihanna’s investments that are heavily marketed seem to be tied to her fan base presenting the best version of themselves to the public. This starts with her fashion collaborations, her make-up line, her lingerie line , shoes and sunglasses. It is very easy to see how these different ventures complement each other which creates a space for potential investors to expand upon. True it also has the potential to pigeon hole into a category, but, Rihanna does not seem to be someone that can be easily constrained. She has found ways to bring things together  while allowing each investment to stand in its own individuality. Its a brilliant business and marketing move that keeps the door of opportunity open for her growing empire.

These are just a few examples of some strategic moves this Queen has made on the chess board. When I see people adamantly insisting that she drop another album, I just chuckle inwardly. Rihanna epitomizes a ‘girl boss focused on building her empire.’ She has not forgotten her loyal fan base or the core of her brand power, she just knows that she has to adjust focus for now. And as history has shown, when she is ready to give us new music, it will definitely be worth the wait!

 

Sources:

 

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MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.

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