Megan Thee Marketer: Lessons from the HTown Hottie
What works–and what doesn’t–shifts fast in marketing. As consumers become savvier and shift their priorities, tried and true methods to reach and engage with consumers may not work as well as they used to. To stay ahead, marketers can look to seemingly unlikely sources for inspiration. Enter Megan Thee Stallion.
The rap artist from Houston recently launched Bad Bitches Have Bad Days Too, a mental health resource hub. At first glance, this campaign doesn’t seem relevant to brand marketers–unless they’re a social media manager having a particularly bad day. Megan Thee Stallion is a musician, not a brand. In a post-CD world, her main goal isn’t to sell a product or service. It doesn’t feel directly applicable to most marketing teams.
Despite the obvious differences in business models, Megan Thee Stallion’s mental health resource hub is a masterclass in brand building. Most (71%) consumers think it’s important for brands to speak out on sensitive topics. Even more (88%) consumers say authenticity is important when they’re deciding what brands to support. And over half (56%) of consumers want to know the backstory and the “why” behind a brand. Megan Thee Stallion hit all three of these consumer sweet spots with her mental health resource hub.
In a single web page, Megan Thee Stallion proved that she understands her audience, wants to speak out on the issues that matter to them and has a personal connection to the topic.
Who is Megan Thee Stallion, anyway?
Megan Thee Stallion–also known as the HTown Hottie or Tina Snow–got her start on social media. She gained an audience with her Instagram freestyle videos and released her first single online in 2016. Since then, she hasn’t missed. All six of her albums have made it onto the Billboard 200. “Savage”, a single from her debut album “Good News” inspired a viral dance trend with over 15 million videos using the sound. She nabbed the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2021. Even if you’re not familiar with her music, you’re definitely familiar with her influence. She’s the one who created the phrase “hot girl summer”.
Her primary career might be music, but she hasn’t stopped there. She’s constantly using her platform as a catalyst for change. In 2020, she performed on SNL for the first time and interrupted her own song with a protest about the handling of Breonna Taylor’s case. She followed that up with a New York Times op-ed about the importance of protecting black women.
She demonstrates her brand value of speaking out about issues that affect her and her audience of primarily black women clearly and frequently. Her consistency and vulnerability set her up as the perfect representative for her newest campaign, the mental health resource hub.
So you had a bad day
Megan Thee Stallion’s mental health resource hub is a deceptively simple site. The single page opens with directions to scroll and a photo of the album cover for “Traumazine”. She has links to her streaming platform profiles and an embed of the video for the most relevant song, “Anxiety”. She follows up with links to mental health platforms and crisis lines. The page ends with two CTAs–one to find a therapist and another to sign up for text updates.
Outside of the primary goal of connecting her audience with mental health resources, the site also does an excellent job communicating that this isn’t a one-and-done effort. It associates this campaign with her overarching brand.
The final CTA to get SMS updates about the initiative is a standard approach. But the enrollment message is where the strategy really shines. Instead of coming from a standard five digit marketing number, the text comes from Megan Thee Stallion herself, complete with a contact card and photo. The messages aren’t personalized to the user, but it feels personal. The message itself informs the user they’ll get updates in the future–and more importantly, feels like she’s there to support you on an individual level.
Bringing it into the brand
Megan Thee Stallion’s existing brand is already based on standing up for her audience. This campaign is simply an extension of that value. But she brings in constant reminders throughout the page that this is her effort and it’s something she’s passionate about. She embeds a video to a relevant song, intersperses the site with lyrics from that song and links her streaming platform profiles.
This could easily feel like a marketing play–and it definitely is–but because of the rapport she’s built with her fans and her history of advocacy, these feel like natural additions and value-adds to the site.
A bad day can turn into good marketing
The reception for this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive. We dove into Sprout’s Social Listening tool to see what audiences were saying about the hub. As of October 11, 2022–less than two weeks after the launch–there were 139,600 Tweets about Megan Thee Stallion and mental health plus over 583,000 engagements with those Tweets. Those Tweets came from over 97,000 unique authors, so a lot of people are talking about it. What’s most astonishing is a 96% positive sentiment around the topic.
Megan Thee Stallion cares about your mental health. https://t.co/RLo8EXnvVg
— CNN (@CNN) September 27, 2022
Bad bitches have bad days too! @theestallion coming thru with all the #mentalhealth resources for everyone! pic.twitter.com/xAETVl5ps3
— Dr. James Simmons | NP+Medical Contributor+Host (@AskTheNP) September 28, 2022
when meg said “ bad bitches have bad days too” it rlly made me feel safe <3
— sofiaa (@sofiavictoriiia) September 1, 2022
What does this brand activism example mean for marketers?
As we’ve said before, Megan Thee Stallion isn’t a brand in the typical sense. But any brand can learn from the strong brand activism examples she showcases with her strategy.
Make it make sense
This campaign was successful because of Megan Thee Stallion’s history of activism and her direct action. By pairing her song “Anxiety” with actionable resources to alleviate anxiety, she proved that she’s not just going to talk about it. She’s going to help fix it.
If your brand is implementing activism, it has to be holistic. The issue you’re addressing should tie back to your brand story and values in a tangible and recognizable way. It’s not enough to post a few times. Your activism should be core to who you are as a brand and you have to be ready to take action.
Address community concerns
Megan Thee Stallion’s primary audience is black women. Access to mental health and the stigma around asking for help are serious barriers for that community. By admitting to her own issues and providing information on how to address them, she proved that she knows and cares about her audience’s needs.
As a brand, you probably have buyer personas. But do those personas also encompass your ideal buyer’s anxieties and concerns outside of your product? If your brand sells camping gear, your audience might be concerned about climate change. If your product line is made with responsibly sourced components, your audience is probably worried about sustainability or labor rights. The cause you take up shouldn’t just relate to your brand, it should also relate to your audience’s needs.
Put a spotlight on the experts
When Megan Thee Stallion set out to address mental health gaps, she could have created her own foundation. She has the audience, platform and resources to make it happen. But she didn’t. She recognized that there were people and organizations that have been doing this work for years and have a better grasp on the issues than she does, and she shined a spotlight on them. Even in her launch, she retweeted Therapy for Black Girls’s initial post to drive her followers to them.
We are deeply grateful to be featured as a resource in @theestallion’s newly launched wellness hub, Bad Bitches Have Bad Days Too.
At TBG our mission is to center the mental health needs of Black women and girls in a way that feels accessible and culturally relevant. pic.twitter.com/GSk21G5H0f
— Therapy for Black Girls (@therapy4bgirls) September 28, 2022
There’s a time to put your brand first and there’s a time to rely on the experts. Recognizing that difference can make a big impact on the efficacy of your campaigns. Whether that means partnering with a nonprofit on a social issue or working with a creator that intimately understands their audience, deferring to the experts can promote authenticity and give a sense of self-awareness.
Campaigns that connect
Megan Thee Stallion has proved that authenticity, vulnerability and a complete brand story can supercharge your campaign. When you add in help from the experts, you’ll be unstoppable.
Want to try it out? Learn more about how partnering with niche creators can help you tap into new audiences with unprecedented relatability.
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