It seemed for a while that Beyoncé could do no wrong. Her personal brand was successful, and thus, any brand she touched turned to gold. Her romance with rapper Jay Z, from dating to marriage to the birth of their child, was championed in the tabloids with the media cheering them on.
Things changed drastically, however, after the elevator family scuffle which took place the night of the 2014 Met Gala between Jay Z and Beyoncé’s sister Solange. The world speculated the fight, and soon enough, Jay Z and Beyoncé separation rumors spread.
On the heels of the couple’s major international tour, many wondered: How would this affect the tour? How would this affect their brands? How would it affect their personal brands?
According to TickPick, the drama in their personal lives seemed to have no real effect on ticket sales, following the typical trajectory with no reason to assume a correlation between divorce rumors and ticket sales.
When the tour came to an end, many speculated what was next for the couple. Every talk show discussed how Beyoncé’s future personal decisions would affect her career. The consensus: She couldn’t lose.
If Beyoncé and Jay Z were to separate, women – especially single moms – would admire the pop star for her empowering example of independence and self-worth. If the couple were to stay together and overcome the obstacles, women would feel inspired by the fact that she is trying to do all she can to keep her family together for the sake of their daughter. At the end of the day, Beyoncé is such a likable character that the public just wants her to be happy.
And Beyoncé showed the world what her decision was by what some refer to as a very symbolic performance at the MTV VMAs. Following the stunning medley performance, husband and daughter came to the podium to present the emotional pop star with the highest honors of the night, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
This year has been a major one for Beyoncé, perhaps her biggest yet. She beat Oprah out of the number one spot on Forbes Celebrity 100 List, attributed to the $2.4 million she earned per 95-show tour on top of her innovative album drop, clothing line and numerous endorsements.
With the “flaw” on her otherwise squeaky clean personal brand, it has done nothing to harm her brand associations. If anything, it has solidified them. When a celebrity makes a mistake or endures personal struggle, they are humanized and more relate-able. Though in some instances damage done can be harder to fix than others – in the case of Paula Deen and Chris Brown – strategic alignment and PR crisis tactics can save face or even strengthen the brand’s image.