Rihanna arrives at The Fashion Awards 2019 held at Royal Albert Hall on December 02, 2019 in London, … [+] England.
Rihanna (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty) is an undisputed queen of personal branding. Rihanna’s work ethic and skill in various business ventures has landed her a total net worth of $1.7 billion, making her the richest female musician in the world and the richest female entertainer after Oprah (another queen of personal branding!). Rihanna became known for her pop hits like “Umbrella,” “Diamonds,” “Shut Up and Drive” and “Don’t Stop the Music,” but has now transcended her original music career to become a leader in pop culture, fashion and beauty. She has leveraged her fame to launch wildly popular beauty brand Fenty Beauty and her lingerie brand Lingerie Savage x Fenty, and there are lessons involved for everyone interested in branding.
Here are three lessons on personal branding from pop culture icon Rihanna.
Rihanna celebrates the launch of Fenty Beauty at ULTA Beauty on March 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, … [+] California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna)
1) True inclusion sells.
One of the main branding choices Rihanna and her team made about any brand expansion was to seek true inclusion. Her clothing brands sought to produce sizes for all bodies, and her makeup line launched with dozens of shades of foundation, which thrilled everyone seeking out traditionally hard-to-find darker foundation colors. Rihanna said at the Fenty Beauty launch, “In every product I was like, ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl; there needs to be something for a really pale girl; there needs to be something in-between’…you want people to appreciate the product and not feel like, ‘Oh, that’s cute, but it only looks good on her.’” Darker tones in the collection sold out right away. This proves that not only is inclusion the right thing to do in a 2021 world, but that being truly inclusive of as many of your potential customers as possible sells.
Rihanna Fenty speaks after becoming Barbados 11th National Hero during the National Honors ceremony … [+] and Independence Day Parade at Golden Square Freedom Park in Bridgetown, Barbados, on November 30, 2021.
2) Personalize your products.
One of Rihanna’s real strengths in her branding is in creating products and product lines that feel personalized, both for the consumer buying them and in relating to Rihanna’s own background and style. Rihanna is vulnerable in sharing what inspires her from her childhood in Barbados when talking about launching her makeup line in an interview, saying, “When I was a teen back in Barbados, I was in a pageant, and my mom did my makeup for it. I will never forget the feeling I had after seeing how even my skin looked when she put foundation on my face. I loved it. It’s like Photoshop. I like my makeup to look like skin—really good skin. [My mom] worked behind a cosmetics counter at a department store in Barbados, and she did makeup for weddings. That’s where my obsession for cosmetics and perfume came from, but I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup unless it was for a special occasion.” This vulnerability makes her audience feel connected to her as person and helps make her products feel personalized and relatable.
Recording artist Rihanna performs onstage during CBS RADIOs third annual We Can Survive, presented … [+] by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
3) Leverage your audience for new ventures.
Rihanna could have been content to create popular music and walk red carpets throughout her career. She certainly could have made an entire career and fortune from just those things. Instead, she chose to leverage her mega-fame into brand new ventures across industries. Rihanna has a stunning 110 million followers on Instagram and 103 million on Twitter, which she has turned into an incredibly loyal brand following. Her die-hard fans have even dubbed themselves the “Rihanna Navy,” which may sound extreme, but has compelled her new brand ventures to sky-high success.
As Rihanna’s personal brand catapults to greater and greater heights, her net worth continues to rise and there are valuable lessons for everyone. Whether it is understanding that true inclusion sells, being careful to personalize every product, or knowing how to leverage fans and superfans to support new ventures, every brand can learn from Rihanna’s incredible success.