Survivor: Doing PR Beyoncè Style

February 1st, 2013

In case you didn’t watch the Presidential Inauguration two weeks ago, one performance stole the show: Beyoncè Knowles singing the National Anthem–or rather, lip-syncing. Despite the media’s continued criticism over the last two weeks, Beyoncè remained fairly quiet on the topic, until yesterday. While she was a little late to the party, her approach is a perfect example of how to handle a PR crisis.

Yesterday, during the Super Bowl press conference, she took center stage to publicly address the elephant in the room, eliminated skepticism and controlling her story. This response is an impressive demonstration on how to shift public perception from a negative into a positive.

1. Validate Concerns: From the start of the press conference, all anyone presumably wanted to discuss was Beyoncè lip-sync-gate. But before they got the chance, she asked everyone to please stand. Beyoncè validated the audience’s concerns about her talent by addressing their doubts head on.
2. Show Action: As she began belting out an incredible, acapella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, Beyoncè eliminated any remaining skepticism in her abilities through direct action. As an added bonus, she also successfully eliminated the cloud that was hovering over her upcoming Super Bowl halftime performance.
3. Control the Narrative: Without letting the situation get any more out of hand, Beyoncè took control. Her decision to start the press conference with a performance, rather than another canned statement provided plenty of positive buzz for the superstar, completely reversing the media tide. And if you listen closely, everything down to her word choice was intentional, rather than introducing the negative term lip-syncing into the conversation, she opted to use the phrase “backtracking.” The lessons from Beyoncè just keep coming!

The major lesson here is how a crisis can end up working to your advantage. It’s not something to run from, but rather something to be addressed straight on. I can guarantee you, few halftime performers have ever gotten this much press PRE performance!
Tell us who you think won this big game? Beyoncè or the media?

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