Although sexiness has always been a part of Rihanna’s image, she first came onto the music scene with her song “Pon de Replay” as a young, innocent, seemingly normal girl wearing pigtails and singing about dancing to a good song by the D.J. Her image was a safe one, carefully managed by her producers. After the incident with Chris Brown, Rihanna strategically took time away, and came back in an interview with Diane Sawyer, where she had a clear message and appeared to be a recovered woman in control. Since her comeback, Rihanna and her team have carefully crafted an image of an ultra-sexual, emotional, edgy, free-spirited woman who sings from the heart about broken love and sexual fantasies. Her believable image transformation is a result of purposeful social marketing and consistency across platforms.
Rihanna began the transformation with the album Good Girls Gone Bad. In the music video for Rehab, she is seen as a short-haired, in-control woman who is distraught over failed love but ready to recover. Rihanna took it a step further when she portrayed an ultra-sexual image in the “S and M” music video. In the video, she is seen with bright red hair, doing everything from humping a doll to being hogtied to duck taping other women and then kissing them.
Rihanna portrays the same image through Twitter and Facebook. In the last days alone, Rihanna’s tweets included, “You da one that I dream about all day...u da one that I think about always...my love is your love, your love is MINE!!!” and “Its not even my Birthday...but he wanna lick the icing off!!!” Again, emotional and sexual yet thoughtful. On these outlets she can interact with and relate to her friends directly. On Twitter she talks directly to them, and on Facebook she has uploaded pictures of herself with hundreds of fans. On Facebook her status updates contain references to her most recent songs and music videos, asking consumers their opinions but also pushing her product. Additionally, on these social media outlets she pushes the companies/organizations that she is sponsored by, such as Armani, the country of Barbados, and Vita Coco Coconut Water.
Rihanna has also appeared in numerous magazines. Most recently, she did a nearly nude photo shoot in Esquire magazine. Her team makes sure to push such photo shoots and articles on Facebook and Twitter, where fans can look at the pictures without necessarily having access to the magazine.
In her public appearances Rihanna portrays a care-free, confident woman. This aligns well with her music videos, Facebook, and Twitter. Her marketing team has successfully linked all platforms so as to give her fans a complete 360 degree experience. If she continues to use such platforms in the same way, Rihanna will likely succeed in re-inventing her brand image in the years to come.
You can check out Rihanna's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/rihanna. Check out her twitter page at http://twitter.com/#!/rihanna. Watch her music videos on her YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/RihannaVEVO