For any brand looking to reinvent itself, look no further than Miley Cyrus. Last year when she made her unforgettable appearance at MTV's VMAs, full of unique tongue wagging and Robin Thicke groping, all while being surrounded by a gaggle of giant stuffed bears, millions of viewers were shocked, even outraged. But from a marketing perspective, it was just a classic case of rebranding: A reliable and popular brand, reinventing its image, and sending a loud and clear message shouting "hey, this is what I stand for now!"
And whether or not you saw Miss Cyrus' performance as the result of a troubled teen lashing out or a brilliant calculated wizard manipulating her audience doesn't really matter. Even if you didn't see it or aren't a crazed Miley fan (like myself), you heard about it. In her bold move, she managed to redefine her brand message in minutes. Was it risky? No doubt. But was it effective? Debatable. However, the massive buzz she created within and outside her target audience -- from teens to Boomers -- had everyone talking about it for days, weeks, even months following the performance. And not to mention the social media explosion that resulted in 306,1000 tweets per minute compared to the previous year's 98,307 tweets per minute. It's fair to say, the twerking memo was heard loud and clear.
So what can other brands and marketers take away from this? Here are three lessons from three industry professionals weighing in on Miley's rebranding efforts.