Wisdom.Applied Wednesday: The Good, the Bad and the Rebranding of Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus fans in the Dominican Republic are likely disappointed that the singer’s upcoming September 13th concert was banned by the government commission that oversees public performances. Although Cyrus recently stated that she was going to take a break from twerking, the concert was banned by the commission due to morality issues, saying in a statement that Cyrus often “undertakes acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican law.”

Although Cyrus’s controversial persona she has cultivated over the past year was undoubtedly well planned (and well executed), on this Wisdom.Applied Wednesday we will be taking a look at some of the (good and bad) consequences of her extreme rebrand.

Over the past seven years, Cyrus has gone through several transformations, rebranding her image to reach new and different markets. Starting out as a Disney Channel star, Cyrus eventually used the dual nature of her Hannah Montana television persona as a way become a slightly more grown-up pop star under her own name sake. However, Cyrus’s controversial (and shocking) 2013 VMA performance with Robin Thicke demonstrated that Cyrus was ready to reach an older demographic–and that her Hannah Montana persona was all in the past.

Cyrus uses the shock factor to her advantage–the fact that fans don’t know what to expect from the star keeps them interested and keeps the buzz going. In a new interview with Australian television show Sunday Night, Cyrus said that the Bangerz tour is supposed to represent “freedom to the fullest…I think—with me a lot—people don’t always know what to expect.” Even if a lot of the press Cyrus has generated for herself over the past year falls under the category of “bad press,” the news has kept her in the spotlight–“Bangerz” has recently crossed the 1 million sales mark, and Cyrus now has 18.2 million followers on Twitter.

On the other hand, if Cyrus isn’t careful, she may run into more situations like she is encountering with the Dominican Republic. Cyrus is smart for rebranding herself around the time many of her Hannah Montana fans were getting older. While Cyrus didn’t jump from Hannah Montana right onto a “Wrecking Ball,” her latest persona is a still a shocking transformation that definitely alienated some of her existing fan base. When it comes to rebranding, it’s sometimes a good idea to ease fans and consumers into the idea to see if they react well, especially if the brand wants to perform for them.

A new phase of the Miley Cyrus brand that may counteract her shock value may be in the making. At this year’s VMAS, Cyrus used her win for Video of the Year to bring attention to the issue of youth homelessness in America. Perhaps by showing a more mature, charitable side, the singer may be able to bring those she’s alienated back to her brand.

Cover Photo Source: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Jenny is a Junior Executive at SJG. She earned her BA in Psychology and a minor in Educational Studies in 2014 from Colgate University. Outside the office, Jenny loves to travel (usually to Disney World), bake and watch copious amounts of TLC.