Adele, a global, iconic pop star with extensive reach across the world, entered the industry in 2006 when she signed a deal with XL. After that, she released her debut album in 2008. The album reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and has sold over 8 million copies.
She has consistently grown and shattered expectations over the years and now has a successful Vegas residency. How did she rise from obscurity to become one of the biggest stars in the world? Let’s break down Adele’s musical journey and marketing strategies.
Before Adele was ‘The Adele,’ she was just another MySpace user who posted her music on MySpace (A social media site that was popular before Facebook). She would post blogs and take feedback from people to learn what worked and what didn’t.
1. Unpredictability and Show-stopping Announcements
Adele has a reputation for taking long breaks between albums, and it wasn’t any different after her second album, 21. Fans eagerly waited for her next big release after the second album but couldn’t tell when it would happen. Until one day, Adele cleverly teased “Hello” using a 30-second video during The X Factor’s ad break.
The video did not spill any tea concerning Adele’s reappearance after her hiatus but consisted of a black background with lyrics to Hello’s intro. This caused speculations across social media and built anticipation and excitement among fans.
Then, before her fourth studio album was released, projections of the number “30” appeared on a variety of landmarks across the globe, like the Louvre in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, and near the top of the Empire State Building in New York. As you might have guessed, no information was given away, which helped stir up excitement about a possible comeback.
Her unpredictability and witty announcements have given Adele so much edge over the years, and it’s the same tactic used by technology companies when they reveal new versions of their products in keynote events. Or by ecommerce owners who use product drops as a marketing tool.
Weaving these elements into your marketing strategy can help hook your audience and keep them on their toes. Announce significant product updates and new stock for more memorable brand experiences.
2. Influencer Collaborations
Adele’s third album, 25, made headlines in the industry as the sixth album released since 2001 to sell 8 million copies in the U.S. This is a huge milestone because Adele is British and didn’t have an audience in the US when starting out. However, she figured out how to extend her reach beyond the UK and tap into American audiences.
And her formula was very simple: collaborations. When 25 launched, she collaborated with American personalities and celebrities and used their platforms to create hype in the US. She partnered with TV host Jimmy Fallon to perform her single, “Hello,” with classroom instruments. The video became a major hit and gained over 30 million views on YouTube. This helped her boost her reach with the US audience and allowed her to show authenticity to viewers.
If you want to grow your reach, identify who has the audience you would like to tap into and collaborate with them.
3. Free Samples
Do you know what Adele did to create buzz for her third album? She released Hello as a free single. That’s right, freemiums aren’t exclusive to SaaS. They can be applied to any industry. By releasing her best song for free, she built anticipation and left her audience thinking, “If this is free and it is this good, the rest of the album must be phenomenal!”
She not only created a curiosity gap in her audience’s minds but also left them longing for more music. Hello had over 27 million views during its first day on YouTube. Give your audience freebies to get them hooked on the good stuff.
4. Leverage Social Media
Social media, especially TikTok and Instagram, has become a core strategy for promoting new songs, albums, and products. Adele did an Instagram live where she hosted a Q&A and played a short snippet of “Easy On Me” for her millions of followers. This resulted in thousands of memes, which gave her more media exposure and helped create anticipation.
Spotify confirmed that Adele’s single, Easy On Me, broke records, including the global record for day one of streams, which includes both Spotify and Amazon Music. On Spotify alone, the music streaming service confirmed that 19.75 million international chart-eligible plays were listened to on the first day of its release.
Adele is a master at creating demand with unconventional announcements. She’s also very good at social media, collaborating with the right people, and leaning into psychological tactics like freebies. Steal some of her marketing tactics to boost your success.
We do realize that other factors affect business success, and the parallels we draw between Adele’s strategies and business are to offer you a fresh perspective on new elements you can use in your marketing strategy. If you enjoyed this post, read about Taylor Swift’s marketing strategy here.