PR Lessons From That Infamous Elevator Video: Keep Your Cool. You’re Always Being Watched.

May 19, 2014  |  

via @Beyonce on IG

If you were like me when the footage showing Solange attacking Jay-Z in an elevator was released by TMZ, you were probably thinking, “What the hell happened?” While many people have theorized and expressed on the details of the night, I actually thought there were some great personal branding gems that came out of the incident.

Here are three tips on personal branding I learned from Solange, Jay-Z, and Beyonce.

1. Pick your battles wisely. This gem came from Beyonce. It’s never cool to flip out in public. Though I don’t know the details of what really happened, whatever it is, Beyonce chose not to react while she was “out of the house.” This serves as a reminder to not only keep your composure in public, but to also decide which battles you want to fight. If you really believe you need to intervene in a situation, then do so, but be ready to justify your actions. Maybe it just wasn’t worth it to Bey. That’s okay. Though not everyone can be so composed, there is much to be said for the person who doesn’t act up in public. Bey was sure to remember this. What will be the consequences of your reaction ? Think it through and then make your decisions.

2. Don’t act a fool in public. I think this one is a given. Unless being rowdy is part of your brand or you’re defending yourself against attack, it’s always best to just wait until you’re in private to settle a dispute. Solange probably didn’t think there were cameras in the elevator, but guess what? Cameras are everywhere. Many times we don’t stop to think about who (or what) is watching us. Though it may have be hard to control your emotions all the time, it’s never acceptable to act out like that, especially in a public place. It just gives people reason to throw dirt to your name. Now, because both camps will probably never come out with a release that actually explains the incident, there’s room for people to draw conclusions about the incident and the participants. All of the Instagram antics aren’t  making the speculations any better, either. Even the joint statement their reps released calling the incident a “private matter,” assuring us that the two “have apologized to each other [and]  have moved forward as a united family” is still not going to resolve the questions people still have.

3. Keep consistent with your image. Who really knows how Jay wanted to react when his sister-in-law started trying to beat him up?  One thing we do know is that Hova was NOT about to be portrayed as a woman beater by hitting her back. If he even put his hands on Solange, many of his fans and supporters would have probably turned their back on him. Jay-Z already created the image as a man against violence against woman with his reaction to the Chris Brown/Rihanna scandal. Any other behavior would’ve been disastrous for him. Thankfully, it looks like he lives his image, refraining from any sort of non-verbal response (since we don’t have audio) to what was going on. Though we wouldn’t expect anything less since his wife speaks out on various feminist issues. If there are any positives out of this whole situation, this would be one.

Rana Campbell is a freelance branding and content strategist who specializes in lifestyle. Follow her on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn.

And if you’d like to learn more about Jay Z and his brand, check out Moguldom Studios documentary “A Genius Leaves The Hood.” Buy it or rent it here!

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  • provokethought

    They are taking this PR thing too far. I am hearing J and Bey non stop now. It is a bit much and has the opposite effect with me. I want the 3 of them to go away!!!!! They are trying too hard now and it is making them look guilty of something.

  • Fancy

    As sad as it is that this video was leaked, Solange is the only one who looks bad. Now, whatever fueled that fight is something we’ll NEVER know, but as a celebrity, come on Solonge, you’ve got be to able to keep your cool. Beyonce and Jay did the right thing, standing back, holding their tongues and taking care of this PR mess. However, I hope it’s not all an act. What’s done in the dark WILL ALWAYS come to light.

    • me

      I am not so sure that Solange is the only one hurt by this though. The general thought is even though she was turned up, it must have been for a reason. So the main question isn’t IF Jay did something, it’s WHAT did he do? Eyes are on him now too. The whole thing is a mess, but i give them credit because they didn’t try to make it something it wasn’t.

      • guest

        I’m sorry but JayZ looked like the sane one here! Why is it when a man hit a woman it’s he need to be under the jail, blah, blah, blah…..But, when a woman is seen acting a fool and being the aggressor toward the guy it’s gotta be”He must’ve did something to set her off”! It was no EXCUSE, I repeat no EXCUSE for her behavior! I’ve been married for 13 yrs and I wish my sister would do that to my husband! It’s gonna be a problem! From what I saw in the footage Solo was the only one acting like a dog with rabies! I tip my hat off to Jay because he showed a lot of restraint, I know it was hard! Her behavior was disgusting! Men and women need to keep their hands to themselves! SMH!!!! #cantbelievepeopleiscosigningthisshit

        • me

          Yes he looked sane in the video … but we don’t know what led up to any of that. He isn’t stupid; he knows their are cameras in elevators so of course he was not gonna act out. I just don’t think him keeping a cool head means much in this instance because you can be calm and cool and still disrespectful for crazy to your wife or sister in law. And keep in mind the statement said the BOTH owned their part in it.

  • Nu

    I agree wholeheartedly. I’m glad that the image that they portray in public is what they maintained in that “private” moment in the elevator.