Brandy and Monica Demonstrate the Benefits of Embracing Rivals

February 14, 2012  |  

Brandy and Monica join forces once again to deliver “It All Belongs To Me,” a soulful ballad that leaked online last week. For their reunion, the pair directs their frustrations away from each other to a man up to no good. The track will appear on the singers’ respective albums, both due in the spring. More than a decade after topping the charts with “The Boy Is Mine,” Brandy and Monica’s collaboration shows that in business, your rival can be your best friend.

The word rival has a negative connotation. But, it doesn’t have to be a negative relationship. Brandy and Monica were pitted against each other as competing R&B teen queens in the 90’s. However, working together pushed them to produce the most successful song of both their careers. “The Boy Is Mine” was the first number-one pop record for both artists and won the first Grammy Award of both singers’ careers.

Rivals Are Good for Business

Nothing generates publicity like conflict. “The Boy Is Mine” exploited the media’s presumed rivalry between the two young singers to become the best-selling song of 1998 in the United States. The buzz surrounding their rivalry may have faded, but the duo is still cashing in. Sure-fire publicity comes in handy, especially when your career hits a decline. Brandy hasn’t released an album in four years. Though Monica has been more visible, she has yet to reclaim the success of her teenage collaboration. Having this this buzz-worthy collaboration in their arsenal is beneficial to both artists.

Get to Know Your Rival

Even if you’re not anxious to partner with them, your business rival is someone worth getting to know. Many argue the importance of focusing on your own business, and not letting competition distract you. However, navel-gazing is a quick way to miss how the market is changing around you. More than a potential partner, a rival can serve as case study for how to – or not to do – business.

Read the news about them, use their products or services, and dig up a little gossip if you’re really ambitious. Understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses allows you to accelerate your own innovation. Stay one step ahead by developing the next evolution of a concept they are developing. Exploit their weaknesses by highlighting a service they don’t offer, or use it as an opportunity to partner together. If you’re in a small industry, it might be in your best interest to work together to identify and tackle common challenges and goals.

Regardless of whether you plan on playing nice, your rival is a good person to know in business. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating your competition and thinking you can pretend they’re not there. Work together when it benefits both parties, but at the very least, keep an eye on them. Even if you’re not watching them, there’s a good chance they’re watching you.

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