Over the last few weeks, Adele has overtaken the music industry. This was after taking a three-year break, at which time Adele surprised her fans with a 30-second snippet of her new song “Hello” before releasing the video a week later. One month later, 25 was on sale and has since become the biggest-selling album of 2015.
Did it happen through raw talent, of which she has plenty, or is a portion of her success attributable to how she views overexposure, overly extended promotions, and hype in general? In an interview with Time, Adele said:
I’m not throwing shade at anybody, but when you have a six-month build up, don’t expect me to be there the day your album comes out, because I’m bored.
She went on to discuss artists who release music without immediately following it up with an album:
It doesn’t matter how amazing [the album] is. You put seven songs out. I’ve heard the album. I’ve heard everything you want to say about it. I’ve heard it all over radio. Don’t expect me to not lose interest before it’s even happened.
In reading Adele’s views on building excitement, how many leaders are equipped with the insights to launch a “hype campaign”? Think about it. We are tasked with launching a vision and goals that engage those on our team. To accomplish this, we exert significant mental strain in the development stage but then undercut the communication phase. The result is a beautiful, well-crafted set of goals that no one cares about, believes in, and/or is aware of.
To build your next hype campaign, consider the following three tips.
Get Informal Leaders On-Board. Before your product launches, you need the support and buy-in of your top thought leaders, the people who influence and guide your culture. Get these individuals engaged early. Your idea does not have to be fully formed to get them on your side. Discuss your intentions and seek their feedback. And as you get closer to launch, keep them in the loop.
Turn Your Launch into an Event. If you are debuting a project that is important to you and the organization, don’t rely on a memo or a mass email. Get personally involved and make it special. For some, “special” is a box of doughnuts on the outside lunching area; for others, you may need something with more pizzazz. Either way, make it stand out to stress that this is not some run-of-the-mill initiative.
Draw out Suspense for a Short Period of Time. To build hype, people need to look forward to whatever it is you are launching, and they cannot do this if they are not aware that something is being launched. Let people know that something is on its way. Don’t drag out the mystery for too long, but it may help to leak a few details or discuss the problem that you are trying to solve.
Based on the mega-success of Adele’s recent album, her outlook on hype is worth studying. Don’t rely on how great your product/idea is. Avoid over-exposure. Prepare your launch purposefully, with detailed precision. Include a few surprises. And, if done right, there will be no need to set fire to the rain.