How to counter your critics – one simple lesson from Beyoncé

Not just a great Diva, but a clever one too!

As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Beyoncé is certainly the mistress of her own image.

Having sold over 75 million records worldwide, won 16 Grammy awards, launched her own fashion line, married one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, and recently given birth to their first child (for which the couple lost their bid to trademark, yes, trademark her name) surely nothing can go wrong for Queen B?

Not even in light of recent lip-syncing events, I hear you ask?

Beyoncé’s column inches recently began to grow the day after her performance of The Star-Spangled Banner at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony, when a representative from the U.S. Marine Band said she wasn’t singing live. Shortly afterwards, the group backed off its initial statement and said no one could tell if she was singing live or not.

Did she, didn’t she? The debate rolled on for 10 days in total, without a word from Beyoncé herself. Other performers such as Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys came to her lip-syncing defence (sometimes you just have to).

It seems Beyoncé didn’t need their support. She had a plan. She ended her silence at the Super Bowl press conference, by admitting that she lip-synced at the ceremony, but not before proving exactly why she’s so highly-rated.

The Diva Redeemed

Queen B made sure that the conference started her way, and extinguished any image and reputation damage she’d suffered by belting out an impromptu rendition of the national anthem before an audience of sceptical reporters – except this time, there was no doubt that she was singing live.

“Any questions?” she asked simply after her performance. Reporters at the pre-Super Bowl press conference had the answer — in the form of thunderous applause that put to rest a fortnight of controversy.

When asked about the inaugural performance, Beyoncé’s cool, collected manner worked wonders for her image and her assertion that “I will absolutely be singing live,” at the Super Bowl was scooped up by the press later that day – she successfully turned the story around to her next appearance.

Beyoncé’s swift and transparent response was conducted in front of the right audience, at exactly the right time. By picking up the microphone, she deftly ran through four of the key steps in crisis management:

  1. Respond quickly – she timed and staged her response perfectly
  2. Be authentic and genuine in your response
  3. If you’ve done wrong, admit fault
  4. If your credibility has been called into question, find ways to quickly re-establish it

Every aspect of Beyoncé’s PR (almost) disaster was well-managed by her press team, from the sneaky-peek videos and photos posted on her website in the run-up to the Super Bowl press conference, to the way in which questions of whether there would be a surprise appearance from her fellow Destiny’s Child members were dealt with (…avoided and denied) – making their entry at Sunday night’s Super Bowl even more effective and winning the hearts of their fans from years gone by.

And after wrapping up one of the biggest and seemingly most successful performances of her career at the Super Bowl itself, Beyoncé made sure she capitalised on her momentum with the press by announcing her world tour just hours after she finished the half-time show – and with that, her critics were long gone…

Not just a great Diva – a clever one too!


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