A Lesson in Branding Strategy From Adele

A Lesson in Branding Strategy From Adele

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By: 321

February 5, 2016

With one simple word Adele had you at “Hello,” but her tremendous comeback after a three-year hiatus is about more than catchy tunes and an amazing voice. The stunning Grammy-winner is also one of the savviest marketers in the music industry and can teach us vital lessons about branding strategy.


Every effort towards promoting herself and her album is calculated and precise. She saved her album release date announcement for Facebook but went off the radar entirely while recording it. She made a risky decision in choosing to not allow access to her new album via streaming. Instead, she recorded a concert for NBC followed immediately by multiple live performances that could be streamed online whenever, wherever. Her November 20th release date capitalized on the holiday shopping season and sold 11.37 million in the first month.

Lesson Learned: Tailor your message and marketing efforts to your audience, no matter what you may think the “rules” are. While one company may benefit from posting on Facebook five times a day, maybe your audience prefers getting their information from other sources and at specific times. Adele’s release of “Hello” was one of the best on her album. Similarly, when launching a campaign, don’t be afraid to give away some of your best work so your audience will come back for more. Taking well-planned risks to gain more exposure can set you apart from the rest.


People love Adele because she’s “just like us.” One of her mantras is to make sure she lives a relatively normal life so that her music is relatable. In an interview she stated, “Don’t get f***ed up by everything. It’s important so you stay in touch with yourself.” Not to mention her extensive and very “real” commentary on struggling with body image, failed relationships, and personal trials. Adele seemingly has nothing to hide, which is why we love, trust, and follow her.

Lesson Learned: Transparency on every level is absolutely vital to develop strong relationships with your audience. Adele makes it clear that she wants to connect with her fans and create music that is sympathetic to what they are going through. Follow her lead and market your brand as a source of expert advice, products, or services primarily for your client’s benefit, not just your own.


A three-year hiatus may have seemed irreversible. Yet the pop icon came back stronger than ever. A recurring theme across her albums is personal growth. Despite much criticism that “Hello” was just another break up song, she stated that it’s actually about growing up versus breaking up. She has respect for music of the past, confessing to listening to music from the 1940’s, but also accepts the changing industry and adapts accordingly.

Lesson Learned: Recognize and be proud of your brand’s evolution. Especially if you’re running a start up, your brand will mature and evolve in ways you may not have foreseen and that will surely affect your communication methods. Perhaps your company has taken a hiatus as well, or maybe things have just gotten a little stagnant. Acknowledge your industry as a whole and its growth from beginning to end and constantly ask yourself “Where do we go from here?” You will find that adjustments will constantly need to be made, especially when it comes to your digital strategy.


Although she is the independent powerhouse we know and love, she is far from a one woman show. Adele’s branding strategy utilizes all platforms of promotion and is backed by a vigilant team that helps her plan out every move, including approving her social media posts following her drunk-tweeting crisis. She’s partnering with seemingly everyone and showing up for performances across the globe while also being very selective about ones that can tarnish her brand image.  

Lesson Learned: Building your brand cannot just be done in-house. Offer to be a guest blogger for other businesses, collaborate with local companies, make appearances on social outlets like podcasts or webinars, and get involved with nearby events. Finally, admit when you need help. If you feel social media is not your strong suit, consider hiring a marketing agency to help you out. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make the connections that will build your audience and lead you to the right people.

Well, we all know the songs. We sing them in the car, or loudly at a bar while clutching the last drink of the night. There’s a reason that Adele just ‘gets you.’ It’s because she knows exactly how to. At 321 branding is our forte, and we’d love to help you and your business hit all those high notes with brand development, consulting, strategy, packaging, and engagement.

Oh, and Adele (if you’re reading this), we love you.

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