Sunday, 25 November 2012
There is the odd occasion when I wish I had the ability that the female members of my family have to draw. Then I could sketch a contrast between a picture of Rihanna as the star she undoubtedly is alongside another with the hundreds of people who make up Team Rihanna, ranging from cigar chomping champagne swilling industry execs, through designers and stylists, to runners and gofers pandering to every whim. It is likely the odd musical person would be included as well.
OK it doesn’t look as good in words as it would as a picture but the contrast between the image and reality is stark. It takes a lot of people working very hard to create a product like Rihanna and yet she is seen, and is expected to act as, the star of the whole thing. One can see a lot of parallels between this and the attitude of corporate CEOs. Hopefully Rihanna appreciates her team better than such CEOs seem to recognise the efforts of their minions.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Enterprise Britain wasn’t invited on the Rihanna plane jaunt that has just taken place to promote the Barbadian singer’s latest album “Unapologetic”. This involved a hundred or so journalists on a 777 plane travelling through 7 countries in seven days. By all accounts (or blogs and tweets as we must now say) they ended up getting less than 7 hours sleep, spent an inordinate amount of time waiting for the lady herself to show up, and ended up resorting to high jinks to deal with their increasing fractiousness. I think I could have handled that so that you didn’t have to…
Still, in spite of the fact that I am probably not its target audience, I decided to give the album a spin, I mean stream (showing my age again….). “Unapologetic” is a well constructed pop album that no doubt closely reflects the life of a free spirited 24 year old in a way that others of similar demographic will no doubt relate to. The adult themes and language may not meet with the approval of the parents of her younger fans (and the duet “Nobody’s Business” with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting her in 2009, is just sick inducing) but all in all it has some excellent tracks and will no doubt sell shedloads.
(Incidentally why has my latest iTunes newsletter highlighted “Unapologetic” alongside promoting free episodes from the National Geographic channel? Nothing to do with her exploits in a Northern Irish field I’m sure….)
Lessons for Enterprise Britain? Well you all know about working hard, creating a team and being a figurehead. You’d probably like the resources to promote your latest product via 150 journalists on a 777 airliner. But ultimately you might console yourself that for every Rihanna there are countless wannabes who did not make the grade. The secret of being successful remains a combination of talent, hard work resources and a little bit of ..er.. luck…..