Lorde – A Star with “Royal” Branding

1827165_et_2014_coachella_photo_2000_w__LSGuest post by Devon Landman

Considering the amount of time Lorde has been famous, you would think to call her a “rising pop star.” However, within a single year, the New Zealand native won two Grammy Awards (Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance) for her album, “Pure Heroine” (2013). It seems she skipped the “rising” part and became a pop star overnight.

Perhaps it’s Lorde’s unique song lyrics and tunes that caught the attention of America. But to gain that much success in such a short amount of time, and not even be from the United States, is something to explore. There have been many foreign artists who have tried to make it big in the U.S. How did Lorde brand herself in the U.S. market so impeccably?

I have come up with a list of strategies that Lorde has used to make her a star before her journey even began:

1. She promoted her single “Royals” on the biggest talk shows early in the game. Lorde performed on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and the “2013 New Zealand Music Awards.” Although without proper PR representation, this type of media exposure is rarely something that a performer can accomplish on his or her own, by debuting her music on top tier media outlets she was able to firmly establish herself on the pop culture stage.

2. She stays true to her age. For example, the music video for “Royals” featured Lorde’s high school classmates in slow motion. Many other artists hire famous actors to perform in their music videos rather than their peers.

3. Lorde reminds her fans, “Flaws are OK.” On March 30th, she tweeted a before and after picture of her during one of her concerts. The photo had been photoshopped to hide her acne. She said she preferred the “before” photo, because it was real. She tweeted, “I find this curious — two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. Remember flaws are ok :)” She also Instagrammed herself another time with acne cream on, proving she is the same as everyone else and making her even more lovable to the public.

4. She keeps her focus entirely on her music. In the entertainment world, stars like Miley Cyrus often exploit bodies at the expense of their musical talent. When asked to discuss her role as a feminist with V Magazine, Lorde replied, “People like to paint me in a certain way, but I’m a hugely sex-positive person and I have nothing against anyone getting naked. For me personally, I just don’t think it really would complement my music in any way or help me tell a story any better.”

5. Lorde created a strong, universal name for herself as an artist. Her real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, but choosing a short and memorable stage name such as “Lorde” was a smart move when branding herself. The reason for her name choice? “I was interested in aristocracy and royalty at the time.” It has nothing to do with religion. “Lorde is like a character, something I can switch on and switch off when I’m on stage,” she said.

Whether you call her Lorde or Ella, she knows how to remain grounded despite the pressures of the entertainment industry. If I ever decide to ditch my law school plans and become a singer, I know who I’m calling for advice on making it big in no time.

About Devon Landman:

Devon Landman’s expertise includes social media management and creative writing. She gained her experience from being a member of the writing team and an editor for Platform Magazine and interning for Eastern Florida State College. She is graduating from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. in May with her B.A. in Communication and Information Sciences. This upcoming fall, she plans to attend the College of Charleston School of Law in Charleston, SC.

Sinco, Luis/ Los Angeles Times. “Lorde performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.” Photo. The Los Angeles Times. 16 April, 2014. 16 April, 2014. <http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/gossip/la-et-mg-lorde-teen-vogue-hilary-duff-lena-dunham-hair-name-20140415,0,6738572.story#ixzz2z5p0F9uG>

Want to Succeed? Reach Your Goals? Try This Counter Intuitive Approach -Allow

HiResGenerally when we hit a snag, or a problem, or just hit one of those points when we want to pick up our laptop and toss it out the window, we go into one of two modes, we decide to push harder, do more, or we resist.  We fly into reactive mode either way.

In one case we do the proverbial chicken with its head cut off dance, flying in a myriad directions in order to make ourselves at least feel like we’re accomplishing something.  Here we generally find ourselves hurriedly multitasking, giving ourselves a sense of accomplishment where in fact, that’s all it is, a sense of accomplishment.

The other mode is resistance.  It’s too much.  We’ll never get it done.  There’s no way we’ll even come close to accomplishing our goals.  The nay sayers are right.  Better yet, we move to the head of the nay sayer class.  In this case we don’t speed from task to task trying to make more calls, send more emails, do more marketing, send out more press releases, or devise more sure-fire ideas, we sit and stew and curse the world.  We’d throw the computer against the wall, but what the hell would be the point?  So we sit fuming, incensed, enraged and infuriated at the fact we were brought into this wretched life, as we contemplate the reasons why whatever we try is sure to fail.

Action is one polar reaction and resistance is the other.  But action for its own sake is generally mindless action and resistance, at least in these situations, is generally a form of denial.

There is another reaction that we could choose.  It’s not as easy nor is it as knee jerk as the first two.  It takes some discipline

The reaction is to allow.

Yep, not to force, or push, or pull, or charge forward or retreat, but simply to allow.

It can be the most difficult approach, because the other two give us the illusion of taking control of the situation.  We are either charging forward or we are heading backward.  In either case, we are doing something.  We are doing, which must mean we are controlling.

Not really.

By allowing, I don’t mean just sitting and waiting for the proverbial knight in the white steed to ride up and solve all your life problems.  Yes, you need to do your work, set up your marketing, launch your PR campaign, and cover the basics.  What I mean by allowing is doing your work and then letting go.

Allowing life to happen.

It can be scary, because you shift from doing to being.

But also by stopping the frenetic action or the all-consuming resistance, you create some space, you make some room.

By taking a step back and simply allowing, you’re now positioned to receive.

Worth a try.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

Colbert, Letterman and a Fuming Rush Limbaugh

rs_560x415-140410173445-1024.colbert-rush.cm.41014It looks like we won’t see the Stephen Colbert character from his current show on Comedy Central, once he takes over The Late Show on CBS, which in a way is a shame.  Being a fictional character with such a skewed point of view, gave him the freedom to say things that Stephen Colbert the person could never get away with.  Yet, according to Rush Limbaugh, by naming Colbert as Letterman’s successor, “CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America.”  As Limbaugh explained, “No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values and now it’s just wide out in the open.  What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy. They’re blowing up the 11:30 format under the guise that the world’s changing, and people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman. It’s media planting a flag here, and it’s a declaration.”

So, that’s one way to see the Colbert announcement.  On the other hand, according to CBS’s Les Moonves, “Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television.  David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”

rs_560x415-140410091528-1024-stephen-colbert-david-lettermanI don’t think CBS has any worries as to whether Colbert can do justice as Letterman’s replacement sans his character.  He is intrinsically funny. But whether the real Stephen Colbert will carry The Late Show is another matter.  If I were to bet, I’d bet that he will.  He can be caustic and acerbic when needed, but I feel he’s intrinsically more likeable than Letterman, which could give him broader appeal.

Even without the Limbaugh reaction, Colbert’s fictional character could never survive on network TV with the type of mainstream guests those shows need to book on a regular basis.  His Comedy Central Show has a specific market, and the character’s political edge would quickly wear thin if targeting mainstream America.

Whereas there was some speculation as to whether CBS would break the white-male late-night fraternity by choosing a woman or a person of color to replace Letterman, Colbert was apparently the favorite in the race.  According to Entertainment Weekly, an online sportsbook gave the Comedy Central host 3:1 odds at taking over the coveted gig.  So, Colbert was a good bet from the get-go.

In the larger scheme of things, does any of this matter?  Depends on whether you watch late night network TV.  Rush Limbaugh certainly seems to think so.  One thing’s for sure, when it comes to the ratings and CBS’s pocketbook it will matter big-time.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

He, Gary/ AP Photo, Comedy Central. “Rush Limbaugh Slams Pick of Stephen Colbert to Host Late Show After David Letterman.” Photo. E! 10 Apr 2014. 11 April 2014. <http://eonli.ne/1hyXdZr&gt;

He, Gary/ AP Photo, Comedy Central. “Stephen Colbert/ David Letterman.” Photo. E! 10 Apr 2014. 11 April 2014. <http://eonli.ne/1hyXdZr&gt;


Defining Your Marketing Objectives

dartsBefore you launch a PR, social media or marketing campaign, you want to make sure that you’ve outlined your objectives.

What is it you want to achieve?

Do you want to:

Sell products?

Promote your service?

Grow your company?

Establish yourself as an expert in your field?

Attract clients, customers or patients?

Establish your brand via the media?

Each one of these objectives is valid and attainable, but you want to define precisely what your objectives are before you start to develop and launch your public relations campaign.


Your objectives will define your approach.

A PR campaign is not a one-size-fits-all process.  We’ve represented clients for over two decades and although there are parts of the process that remain constant, I quickly learned that each client is different, each client has different objectives and each client needs a tailor made campaign and approach.

If you’re not working with a PR company or PR consultant, a good way to help define your marketing needs is to get others involved.  One of the best ways to do this is to set up a marketing objective brainstorming session.

Before you start, I suggest making one hard and fast rule. Keep an open mind.  You might think you know your business inside and out, where in fact, you might be too close to see exactly what your business needs in order to grow.  You’ll probably come up with a list that includes a number of marketing objectives.  That’s fine, but come up with one, or at the most two primary objectives.

When you launch a marketing or PR campaign, what are the two most important objectives that you want to achieve?  During the brainstorming session let everyone participate, and explain why he or she thinks certain objectives are more important than others.

Once you’ve come up with a list of around ten write them down.

Next define them.

Now start a process of elimination until you’ve narrowed it down. Keep at it until you end up with two primary objectives.

Once you have them defined, take some time and write out exactly what your goals are, short term and long term.

Most businesses skip this crucial step and simply start to market.  They jump in and start swimming without any clearly defined map that guides them and makes sure they 1) know where they’re going and 2) keeps them on course.

Once you’ve defined where it is you want to go and have clearly defined why you want to market, you can then move on to how to most effectively market yourself and your business.

First define your objectives, then come up with your marketing plan – and then execute it.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

Want PR Success? Let The Media Be Your Guide

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 3.17.38 PMChances are you know exactly what your successful media pitch is going to be.

And chances are even better that you’re wrong.


Because you’re looking at your PR campaign from your perspective.  Your story interests you, so you assume it’s going to interest everyone.  The trouble is, it interests you for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the media or the public.  It’s your business.  It’s your passion.  It’s your livelihood.  To the media it’s none of those things.

Sure, you want to come up with the obvious pitch; the pitch that presents you, your company and your brand in the light you want it to be presented, but that’s just step one.

Most people are too close to their business to know if the story they want to pitch is one that will work.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, that – this will be the easiest campaign I’ve ever run, or that – the media will thank me for pitching this particular story.  Truth is, there are no easy campaigns and the media has so many stories to choose from and are so busy moving from one story to the next, that they’re seldom seduced by a story or pitch.

So you want your media relations campaign to be a success?  You want to be featured on TV, radio and in print?  Then stop thinking like a tunnel-visioned business owner and start thinking like a journalist.  Stop pitching what you think is interesting and start pitching what they think is interesting.

One of the reasons I suggest that business owners work with an outside PR company or media consultant is that they are simply too close to their business to be able to make clear rational decisions when it comes to developing story ideas.  They pitch the story that they want the media to run, as opposed to trying to come up with stories that the media will actually find interesting.

If you find yourself falling into that trap, step back and try to look at your business as an outsider would.  Better yet, view it from the perspective of a journalist.  You don’t want to be completely reactive when launching a public relations campaign, but you do want to know what stories the media is covering and if there are any topics that you can address.  Study the media on a regular basis to see what stories they are covering.  If you can address any topics that are currently in the news, that give you a great PR opportunity to present yourself as an expert.  In the cases of breaking media stories, you need to move quickly since the window of opportunity will be short lived, but this type of approach does offer you a way to position yourself as an expert.  For example if you are an attorney and a lawsuit is garnering media coverage, pitch yourself as an expert who can address and explain different aspects of the case.

Often the hardest job a PR consultant has is trying to make a business owner or entrepreneur look at the media campaign realistically, so step back and give you, your business and your PR campaign a reality check.  If you want your PR campaign to succeed, meet the media’s needs first.  Do that and you’ll be sure to meet your PR objectives.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

Want More Business? More Clients? More Customers? Learn the Art of Effective Storytelling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADeveloping and launching and sustaining a public relations campaign is an ongoing cumulative process.  And process is the operative word, because it is not a single event.  PR is not an article in a magazine, an interview in a newspaper, a segment on a TV show, or coverage in a blog.  Each one of those are individual events that are a part of an ongoing media relations campaign.

Think about PR the same way you think about your business.  It is a day to day, cumulative building process.  Your marketing is your businesses’ life blood.  If you are not focusing at least 50% of your efforts on strategizing, developing or implementing some type of marketing outreach, you are not properly serving your business.

As I’ve mentioned several times in my articles public relations is so vitally important because it is the only form of marketing that offers you the validation and credibility of being featured in the news and that reaches your target market.

We’ve placed clients in Time, CNN, the New York Times, the Today Show, the Huffington Post and countless other media outlets, not by trying to sell the media, but by offering them compelling stories that interest their viewers, readers or listeners.

Effective and compelling stories are the life blood of any PR outreach. What fuels and drives a PR campaign are stories.   So that is your starting point.  Without stories you have no campaign.  Media relations is not about selling.  It’s about engaging; it’s about communicating.  Take off your advertiser’s hat and put on your storytelling hat.

Once you’re ready to launch your public relations campaign and pitch your story to the media, your primary focus needs to be on developing your media pitches and story ideas.  The media’s job is not to sell your service or product but to tell compelling informative stories.  With that in mind, start off by creating a list of the various topics you can address.

You have a specialty; a topic or area that you’re expert in.  That’s your main area of expertise. But if you move a little right or left of center, chances are you can come up with a much wider list of topics you can discuss.  For example, if you’re a physician, you can discuss your specialty but you can also address the various ways that social media and the internet are changing the practice of medicine.  From your perspective that may not be your primary story, but it does deal with medicine, the culture at large and can help establish you as an expert.

Remember the bigger the media bull’s-eye, the greater your chances of PR success.   The story that grabs the media’s attention might be your product or service, it might be how your product or service affect the lives of your customers and it might be the journey you took which led you to create your company.

Or it could be all of the above.

So be creative, brainstorm and find those compelling stories that will build and grow your business.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

Branding U

business man hand point to branding diagramPR and media relations can be the most powerful forms of branding.  They offer the validation, credibility and trust-factor of being featured in the news.  Truly learning the basics of public relations is like learning the tricks of the trade of a Branding University.  But before you blithely can jump from the conceptualization to the actual  marketing and branding of yourself, and your company, you have to take care of the basics and learn the art of PR.  You’re going to succeed by learning how the media thinks, not by assuming you know what they want. The following are some tips that can hopefully increase you’re your branding skills.  Think of it as a quick Cliff Notes version from Branding U.

Define your story and your career path. You can’t tell others about what you do until you fully understand it yourself. Write a short, clear and concise paragraph that defines what you do. Write it so that an eighth grader could understand it. You may be surprised.

Define your target market.

Think in terms of stories. People understand concepts best when told in terms of anecdotal stories.

Write a clear, concise one-page press release.

Study the various media outlets. Tailor your releases and your pitches to each specific media outlet.

Less is more. If you’re thinking of sending out a huge press kit filled with reams of paper, photos and brochures, think again.

Examine all of the available angles. Your first pitch may not work. Be creative.

Learn the three P’s: Patience, persistent and preparation for success.

These aren’t always easy to master.  You need to prepare for success, be persistant in your outreach and have the common sense to be patient enough to allow the process to work.  . Yes, we’ve had campaigns that have hit a home run in the first week, but that is exceptionally rare, and not always the best launch for a campaign.  The most successful ones build gradually and consistently.  They take time and require persistence. But the payoff can be great.

The real secret to Branding U is realizing that public relations is a creative, story-driven, gradual, on-going, cumulative process. If you are going to implement a P.R. campaign, make a commitment to stay with it. . Your career will be glad you did.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014


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