Numbers for Rihanna’s latest album, Talk That Talk, were released last week to chatter that the pop princess’s reign just might be letting up. The album debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 197,040 units sold might be disappointing to some, but anyone forecasting the demise of Rihanna’s career is getting ahead of themselves.
The ubiquity of the Rihanna brand has nothing to do with album sales. She has released six albums in as many years, and none of them reached number one. That didn’t stop 11 of her singles from topping Billboard’s Hot 100. Constant visibility has been essential to the pop diva’s success.
Between blogs providing daily updates of her wardrobe choices and radio stations flooding the airwaves with her new material, the pop diva has been hard to escape since her career making single “Umbrella” dropped in 2007. Yet somehow Rihanna manages to keep her target demographic begging for more. Though enigmatic on the surface, Rihanna employs an audience engagement strategy that can be replicated by any brand.
Sakita Holley, a lifestyle brand strategist at House of Success, identifies audience, consistency, and relevance as the keys to creating engaging content. “People that aren’t fans of Rihanna’s may feel that she’s over-saturating the airwaves, but her fans are perfectly fine with her output. The key is for brands to really focus on their audience,” she said.
“If they focus and create a profile of who their reader, listener or viewer would be, they’ll be able to create relevant content that adds value. And lastly, consistency is really important because you want to stay top-of-mind with your audience.”
If there is one thing Rihanna is, it is consistent. She is a hit factory that puts an immense amount of effort into ensuring that every song has number one potential. For Loud (2010), Def Jam held a two-week boot camp for the top writers in the industry to crank out hits for the singer. On Talk that Talk, her manager Jay Brown said, “When we were deciding the tracks to put on there, I wasn’t thinking about minutes and seconds. I just wanted to make sure it was all hits.”