Say what you want about Miley Cyrus, but you can't deny that she has got something right.
I don't want to wax lyrical here about ego, role models, tattoos, twerking, naked music videos or anything of the like. That has been more than taken care of by the rest of the world.
I want to draw attention to the miracle that Miley, and her team no doubt, have managed to pull off!
From a marketing and branding point of view, they have managed to achieve something spectacular - by totally exploding her out of the narrow mould she was cast in, and creating a whole new career for her. Let me explain.
When an entertainer is cast into an iconic role that becomes synonymous with our pop culture, naturally they become the face and outward manifestation of that character. Once that image has been formed in the minds of the masses, it is there for good. (for example: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen) You will always be known for that role and to break out of it is extremely difficult - because it shatters the illusion built up in peoples' minds. Sub-consciously, it takes something really special to break that image.
And that is definitely what Miley had to attack - after being the one and only, Hannah Montana.
Now, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that first meeting between her and her team where they decided it was time to break out of the mould and re-invent herself. Because that is what fascinates me - the strategy they forged and subsequently executed.
What people don't seem to understand is that she was never going to sell records singing as the girl from Hannah Montana (at least not immediately). So what followed was a dedicated mission to break that mould and create a new image. Every single move, from naked photos on Instagram, to her infamous performance at the VMA's, to her Wrecking Ball video, were all calculated tactics under a sophisticated plan, one that she has executed on so incredibly well!
The publicity she has garnered for herself, through fame or infamy, has boosted her latest album BANGERZ to the top of the iTunes charts, as well as setting a new image in the minds of the people for who Miley Cyrus is. As she said so effectively when she hosted Saturday Night Live: "Hannah Montana is dead!" There is no doubt that she studied the careers of pop icons such as Britney Spears and Madonna, and took cues from their incredible ability to re-invent themselves again and again. It has all paid off it seems.
Now I am confident that this tongue-wagging, booty-shaking, short-hair-wearing image is only temporary - a necessary 'shock and awe' extreme to break out of the narrow mould she found herself in. I believe this because of the unbelievable vocal ability she has that I don't think she will waste on the kind of music on her latest album. She will come back, more mature in the future, to give us some really iconic pop anthems that may even stand the test of time. And when she does this, the current phase will be all but forgotten - simply the flavour of the week.
Whether you like her or not, the branding strategy she is currently executing is absolutely brilliant. There is no doubt that she is outdoing every single artist right now - and people simply can't stop talking about her. (Yes that was a song reference...)
Props to you Hannah, ah I mean Miley.