Contributed by britney4ever:
STRATEGIC MARKETING ANALYSIS: BRITNEY SPEARS 2003
Goals for Britney Spears – 2003
The key goal for Britney Spears in 2003 will be to refocus on her core competence. As with many major multi-national business’s we have seen the dilution of Britney Spears’ brand power as it has been spread among many competing ventures. This is a great strategy in a receptive business and consumer environment but can lead to problems in a weaker business and consumer climate.
From a profitability point-of-view it was appropriate to take advantage of Britney Spears’ potential across a wide variety of product lines while she was at the peak of as a Global Pop Media Superstar. Such a window of opportunity only occurs once in the career of an entertainer and had to seized and developed ruthlessly. But the utility of the brand diversification dwindled in 2002 and it has began to affect the potential for long-term profits.
In light of this a primary goal for 2003 will be to refocus on the core competence of Britney Spears. As with any business a difficult economic environment calls for the establishment of priority areas of activity and the shedding of less profitable activities.
What is the core competence of Britney Spears?
Britney Spears has established herself, over the past four years as one of the most successful entertainers ever. Her core competence lies in her ability to combine singing, dancing and acting into a performance package that millions of people have found to be entertaining. This is what she does best. The marketing effort must focus on emphasizing Britney as an entertaining package of singing, dancing and acting.
Areas such as product spokesperson, writing books, video games, dolls and other ancillary products will be de-emphasized in favor of activities directly related to her core competence. The focus will be on:
1. Her music in the key form of her fourth album.
2. Her live performance in the form of concerts and special appearances
3. Her acting in the form of movies and TV.
Promotional activities will be aimed at supporting her core competence as a dynamic and charismatic entertainer. Some recent performer promotional templates from the music industry should be examined carefully (se Appendix I).
The implications of refocusing on Britney’s core competence is that revenues will be lower in the short-term but in the long term asset will remain viable. The low hanging fruit has been gathered and careful pruning will ensure the long-term health of the tree.
A further implication is the acceptance that, while Britney remains a Global Pop Media Superstar, she will not be the preeminent Global Pop Media Superstar but rather just an ordinary superstar.
The expectations of the media need to be managed so that performance by Britney is seen within the context of other ordinary superstars rather than her past success as the dominant Global Pop Media Superstar of the turn of the millennium.
In summary, the goal for 2003 is to have a full transition to an older demographic (see Appendix II) and to narrow the focus to Britney’s core competence as a charismatic entertainer.
Synopsis on Britney Spears – 2002
2002 was a transitional year in the career of Britney Spears. The third album was a transitional album designed to keep one foot in the teen/tween market while placing the other in the young adult pop market. As with all such straddles this entailed compromises that spread the focus of the music too widely. A result of this was weaker than planned for sales of “Britney” in the US market. The international market did better thanks to several promotional trips to Europe, Australia, Mexico and Japan which were replacements for promotional trips cancelled in 2001 because of 9/11. It is clear that there is no substitute for on-site promotion when it comes to the international markets.
One of the results of the transitional nature of the album is that the songs were less suited to the narrow-casting formats desired by today’s radio stations where pop music faces an unreceptive crossover radio market and where day-parting makes it difficult for songs played by stations to crossover from night-time play lists to daytime play lists or vice versa. This was in addition to resistance to Britney’s music from a certain radio conglomerate due to the choice of Concerts West as her tour promoter.
A new aspect of Britney Spears, Pop Media Superstar, lay in her debut as a movie star. Crossroads was a modestly successful small film (although very profitable) that established Britney as a movie star capable of opening a movie. The project received mixed reviews although Britney’s performance was generally seen to be better than the overall movie. Crossroads major problem was that it was aimed at a narrower demographic than her music with it’s principle audience proving to be teen/tween females. This project, from a marketing perspective would have been better suited for 2000 or 2001, not 2002 a year in which the transition of Britney away from the tween/children demographic was in full effect. Scripts for future movie projects need to be chosen carefully to target a broader demographic than Crossroads.
The years 2001-2002 saw the Britney brand used to its maximum on a wide variety of ancillary areas away from her core competence. Although very profitable, the dilution of the brand became very clear in 2002. During the height of the Britney phenomena the various video games, books, dolls, other products and commercial endorsements could be absorbed but the overexposure these helped create had begun to negatively impact the primary product lines. The impact of commercial endorsements appeared to be greater in the US market then overseas, where there was less media exposure, so in line with other American celebrities we may suggest that commercial endorsements be concentrated in the international arena.
The most successful aspect of 2003 was the continued success of Britney as a major live concert draw. The second leg of the Dream Within a Dream World Tour once again proved to be very lucrative with mostly sellouts (over 97% of available seats sold) and has established Britney Spears as the preeminent live performer from the newer acts in the music industry. There was a failure in the part of our Marketing and Public Relations Departments in not placing this achievement in the forefront of the media’s consciousness. We allowed negative reports (however unwarranted) as to album sales and movie box office to dominate media coverage rather than force the most clearly positive story to the front of the agenda.
As has been mentioned, 2002 saw serious indications of media overexposure, a great deal of which related to Britney’s personal life (which we had little control over) but much of it also had to do with moving away from areas of core competence and into an overly broad array of ancillary areas (which we have some control over). The immense amount of work required by Britney, in conjunction with personal issues, did lead to signs of impending burnout by Britney. These danger signals were clearly seen by late-Spring of 2002 and led to the cancellation of the contemplated European leg of the Dream Within a Dream World Tour. Fortunately a schedule had not been set for this leg of the tour and no venues had been booked so it was easy to shut things down after the end of the tour in Mexico City. This has allowed for several months of quiet time in which new material could be create by Britney and her collaborators for future music and movie products. The creative results of this hiatus appear promising.
The hiatus, along with allowing for creative work, was supposed to remove Britney from the public spotlight and allow for a clear break from the transitional Britney/Crossroads Era to the new era. Unfortunately this did not happen. The primary reason has been the public’s unceasing need (fed by the media) for stories on Britney’s personal life. The impact of this may have been reduced significantly but for the Justin Timberlake issue (see Appendix III).
Year 2003 Time-Line
The time-line of scheduled activities for 2003 is less clear than in the past few years. What is clear is that the fourth album will be released in the Fall of 2003. The area of uncertainty is due to the impact of a possible movie shoot or shoots. There will definitely be one significant movie role filmed during the first half of 2003 but there may also be a second major movie filmed during this time period. It is not yet certain which of these projects will definitely be filmed with the two movies coming from among the NASCAR movie, Die Hard 4 and an untitled romantic comedy.
The fourth album could be released as early as September if major film commitments are finished by June but if the film commitments are pushed into the Summer then an October or November release date is more suitable. With a three month window prior to the album release needed for promotional work an October release date seems most likely.
Possible promotional events include co-hosting the MTV Movie Awards. As well there might be appearances at the MuchMusic Video Awards and the Teen Choice Awards which will still fall within the scope of the demographic targets (see Appendix II).
The first single should impact at radio six to eight weeks prior to the release of the album so a target of mid-August seems most likely. In conjunction there should be a performance arranged for the VMA’s with the release of the video around the same time for maximum impact on MTV.
An overseas promotional blitz should take place within six to four weeks of album release with the domestic promotional blitz following.
The Dream Within a Dream World Tour began prior to the release of Britney but for the fourth album we would prefer if the tour started a few weeks after the album release as with Oops I Did It Again or even not until 2004. The primary reason is that this will allow for greater focus on promotional events prior to the album release with the secondary benefit of not putting as many competing stresses on Britney. Which in 2001 had some negative health implications.
Year 2004 Time-Line
World tour interspersed with promotional activities for the one or two movies being released.
Key Promotional Options
MTV and other music channels will remain at the core of Britney’s media promotions. In addition to the VMA’s we will work to arrange another Diary, a Making the Video, multiple TRL appearances and a CD release special. As well discussions should be arrange with VH1 for programming aimed at their demographic into which we will be moving more promotional effort. Similar programming will be made available to other music channels.
The a variety of promotional performances and interviews will be arranged on daytime, late-night and prime-time TV. Indications from the networks are that there should be no difficulty finding airtime. As well, Britney’s past major ratings success with SNL has left her with a standing invitation to return as host and musical guest.
The other core of the promotional efforts will be the Internet where Britney is still a dominant presence. Some possibilities include the use of teaser bits from the new album, in both sound and visual form. As well, with the continued decline of the CD single potential songs which would have ben B-sides may be released for free download over the Internet.
Radio will remain a secondary vehicle for promotion. An effort will be made with the major market stations in the USA plus the more receptive international broadcasters but promotion at secondary market stations will be at arms length through Jive rather using up Britney’s valuable promotional time.
Major magazine cover stories and interviews will be arranged in several woman’s magazines, the major entertainment and music magazines, and possibly with some of the men’s magazines although care needs to be taken with the imaging of these stories.
The press coverage needs to be shifted away from the personal gossip and on to the creative growth aspects of Britney’s career. This will be difficult given the continuing strong interest in Britney’s personal life from the media but whatever lies within our control should be attempted (see Appendix III).
Theme for 2003
Britney’s core competence as a fun entertainer needs to be focused on as she moves into young adulthood.
For internal use by the Marketing Department. Do not provide access to any other department at Jive Records or BMG Music.
Looking at recent music performers can give us some potential models to follow in the marketing of Britney’s fourth album.
The Pink Model: This model shows the transformation of a young performer from one style of music to another and recasts her as a rebellious rocker.
The Christina Model: This style involves a shock confessional transformation in an attempt to explicitly break from a past image.
The Justin Model: A smoother transition to a new but not to different musical style designed to separate him from his younger past in a “boy-band”, combined with extensive use of his personal life (see Appendix III) in order to attract media attention.
The Shania Model: In this case a huge superstar, after a hiatus, returns using a similar formula of fun upbeat country-pop. She avoided the use of personal confession in her music and promotion. Her promotion was more focused on selected major events designed for maximum impact on reaching her previously large fan base.
Much depends on the songs selected for the fourth album but an approach similar to Shania’s might be best for Britney as she has the profile to be able to get major media attention and a history of excellence at fun upbeat dance-pop. The caveat is that Shania did not need to complete the transition from one career stage to another like Britney. This might require a confessional approach either to the songs or the media promotion. But the focus should remain on Britney’s core competence as a fun and upbeat personality with the difficulty being getting the media to lessen their obsession with her personal life.
Our market research and focus group studies have shown some clear trends in Britney’s fan base over the course of her career. The core of her fan base in the Baby One More Time era was in the teen/tween demographic but Britney’s overwhelming success was due to her ability to attract both the children and the young adult demographic as well. It was only through such a broad base that she was able to sell as many albums as she did. Oops I Did It Again was designed to quickly capitalize on this success but by the Fall of 2000 it became clear that she could not rely on the long-term on the children and tween demographics. You cannot stop the aging process which inevitably moves a performer away from this fickle market.
The Britney era was a transitional era in which marketing efforts were aimed more at the teen/young adult market but not excluding the tween/children market. This led to significant conflicts between what works with one group rather than another. The greatest percentage sales drop occurred in the tween/children market.
The tween/children market is very lucrative if you can become the hot performer since it is very limited in performer selection and it is less subject to downloading. This is why the hot performer for this group as with Britney in 1999 and 2000 and Avril in 2002 can rack up such huge sales. But this market is not stable for the long term.
Likewise the older adult market share is growing as this group is not as likely to download but it is very diffuse spreading its buying among a very large range of artists and reluctant to try new performers.
Britney’s core market will be teens and young adults but this will be less lucrative as this group is most prone to downloading and is starting to diffuse its buying among a wider range of acts. Promotional activity will be targeted at this group with little effort aimed at the younger demos. Although coverage in tween/children media will not be refused it will not be sought out either. A difficulty may arise in the desire of WEG to promote some of their younger acts through Britney’s tour. We must avoid acts like Triple Image on her bill and even the pressure from WEG to promote Dream as an opening act must be considered carefully.
The relationship with Justin Timberlake continues to cause concern. Unfortunately it was felt, after the strong but not hot initial reception of Justin’s solo album that he needed more media coverage, This was achieved by using his past relationship with Britney more than initially anticipated. The unfortunate side effect for Britney was that rather than assuming a lower media profile during her hiatus she remained a staple of the tabloid media. This makes it more difficult to reduce the impact of her previous overexposure.
Normally it is the job of marketing to insure as much publicity as possible for a performer but in the case of Britney our job will be more difficult. The reduction in tabloid gossip and the refocusing on her core competence as an entertainer is more difficult than simply arranging for media coverage. It is hoped that Justin Timberlake can be persuaded to avoid incidents that will exacerbate this situation in the months immediately preceding the release of the fourth album.
For internal use by the Marketing Department. Do not provide access to any other department at Jive Records or BMG Music.”
Admin note: Another one of these phony Jive marketing plans made the rounds a few years ago – this is likely nothing different. Creative though!