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Who runs the world? GIRLS! But more specifically: Beyoncé!

The former member of Destiny’s Child and wife of renowned rapper/mogul, Jay-Z, has taken the world by storm, yet again.

Beyoncé released a surprise self-titled album earlier this month without any prior notice or promotion. Zilch, zip, nada – not a single peep. Not a leak, not a word – an almost impossible feat in this current age of computer hacking and NSA spying.

As counter-intuitive as this strategy sounds, it has turned the world upside and changed the rules of marketing forever. Employing just the power of the Internet and a deep understanding of her audience, Beyoncé was able to break records and break servers alike with this 14-track visual album that comes complete with 17 videos.

The old ways of promoting a music album, through posters, interviews and explicit release dates, was put aside and a new, brave and exciting method was adopted, to monumental success.

“Beyoncé” sold 800,000 digital units in just 3 days, easily eclipsing the previous iTunes record set by Justin Timberlake earlier this year. The online frenzy was even too much for the digital music retailer to handle that it had to temporarily shutdown its service due to the surge in traffic.

Part of the success of this album can be attributed to the secrecy behind it all, but the main reason to this record-breaking whirlwind is due to Beyoncé’s huge fan base. She has spent 20 years pouring her life into creating a strong brand name for herself and she is now reaping her returns.

What we can learn from this is that rules can, and sometimes should, be broken. If you are an established brand name, it should be your rules that your counterparts play by, and not the other way around. You have the right, if not the duty, to carve your own path. And when you hit the sweet spot, your brand too could be breaking records and making headlines.

Another great lesson is that of digital advertising; your customers are the media. This means that your advertising platform is no longer just print ads, radios and TV commercials, but the users themselves. The interactive nature of today’s technology means that if they like your idea, they will help you propagate it. This was evident with Beyoncé’s album as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook users went into a full gear to help promote the news.

So while we jam to the latest tunes by Queen Bey, we should applaud her for enlightening us with a lesson in courage by doing something that’s never been done before. As branding, marketing and advertising goes, we should all strive to pull a Beyoncé.

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