[Branding 202]: The Miley Cyrus Lecture

This is a quick lesson, but an important one. It’s all about the art of [rebranding]. We took an introductory look at this exciting topic a few months ago after Justin Timberlake released The 20/20 Experience. This time, Miley’s the subject and she’s remixed her image, sound, and brand. After much anticipation, her video for We Can’t Stop finally dropped last week and it’s gotten quite a bit of buzz.

My opinion: it’s one of the funnest, edgiest, and dopest videos I’ve seen in a while. So far, it’s one of my top 10s for 2013, for sure. I mean, seriously, aside from a little bad lipsyncing and a few coincidental bites off of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video, it’s a pretty awesome and accurate look at today’s youth culture.

Getting to the rebranding point, I’m so hardcore #teamMiley! Having followed her from my Disney Channel days when she was Hannah Montana to now, she’s an example of an artist choosing where she wants to reign in the industry and going there. Yes, I do think there’s a lot of manufacturing to the new image on behalf of her creative team, but since breaking free from Disney’s chains, she’s always seemed like a girl with a clear idea of what she wants and who she’s becoming (even if she needs a little help putting that vision out there).

Like Justin, she took some time off and came back with a completely new image. And with that new image came a new branding strategy, which can be [experienced] in the video above. The real important part is coming up now: authentication. JT followed up Suit & Tie with his [gentlemanly] ballad Mirrors; and now Tunnel Vision, another love track with a gent’s perspective, is next in his line-up of 20/20 singles. So what’s Miley’s game plan? I’m not sure, but I’m eager to find out. All I know is she better sell it. Consistently. If she’s choosing to be this edgy/trill pop star that can’t be stopped, she can’t start and not finish. Rebranding requires that you know your new role and execute it perfectly until everyone believes it. I’m glad she’s back and I hope she keeps it going in the right direction (and at the right pace). Too much, too fast is a recipe for disaster in brand strategy. Class dismissed.