When PR and marketing work a little too well…

Not a huge fan of Miley Cyrus’ new image – but commentator David Johnson has a point — she and the people behind her brand crafted a strategy, carried it through, and stayed on message. That’s the  PR/Marketing lesson for today.

Also interesting: Twitter played a big part in bringing her to the media forefront.

According to this author, tweet activity is a factor to sponsors and advertisers now, and MC was the topic of more tweets than any other performer during the MTV Video Music Awards program.

So, we’ve got another example of how branding works, and how to leverage Twitter.  PR-wise, it works.  But is everything about PR?  For that matter, is everything about being successful and a household name?

Doesn’t the music still matter?  Or is that a really naive thing to say? Is it really all about twerking now?

It makes me sad to think of all the musicians who have dedicated years to learning and perfecting their craft — who put all their creativity into music, making untold numbers of sacrifices along the way, and they are eclipsed by someone who wiggles their bottom.

I know the music industry is competitive and branding is nothing new to performers. Still, I have to wonder: at what price did her current success come?  Will she look back at this time and have regrets about the damage she did to her credibility as a musician?  Or is it all about the money?

Sometimes, I think what we learn and apply in PR and marketing can work a little too well, you know what I mean?  It can take on lightning speed.  Her transformation was meteoric. Perhaps that was the intent.

To illustrate, here are two videos.  One is from less than a year ago, December 2012.  To me, then she had an image that she could own. Her voice is not spectacular, and the song is Dolly Parton’s, but she could have built on this.

And this is Miley, today… Her look and sound seem like a formulaic, success-built hybrid of Madonna/Gwen Stefani/Lady GaGa.  Her voice is still unimpressive, she can’t dance, and the video is gratuitously salacious.  She has all the presence of a little girl walking around in her mama’s shoes.  But she offers shock-value.  She got views.

The thing is: where does she go from here?  This is flash-in-the-pan marketing, and the only way to maintain it is to just keep dialing up the shock value.  Musically, she has nowhere to go, unless she metamorphoses once again, because this is all packaging.

I just question whether a 20-year-old is in the position to make these kinds of life-changing decisions.  Maybe she is.  Someone in PR and marketing is advising her.  Is this responsible?  I hope they can live with the results.

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on October 11, 2013, in Consumer Trends and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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