Let me start with this: I’m actually not a huge Lady Gaga fan. I like her music, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not one of her “little monsters” (the token name for her fans) who willingly drops hundreds to see her perform. However, when I listened to her interview on Elvis Duran yesterday morning, I was struck by her commitment, her almost insanity, to her music and her work. It’s apparent we as marketers can learn a thing or two from her artistry that will surely be around for years to come.
- Don’t be afraid to do or say something different. It’s no secret that Gaga is unique; from her fashions to her songs to her interviews, she’s out there. But, she always has a reason for it and does everything with an end goal in mind—to further define herself as an artist. As marketers, sometimes we’re afraid to step out of the safe zone and make a bold statement or say something no one else is saying. If your message is on target and can be supported, have confidence in what you want to say. You may just get noticed—just don’t wear a meat dress.
- Use your downtime wisely. When Gaga cancelled her U.S. portion of her “Born This Way Ball” tour in February because of an injured hip, she said she was beyond devastated and afraid of disappointing her fans. However, she used her months of recovery to write songs for her new album “ARTPOP” and practice her choreography (lying down). Being in a corporate environment, it’s easy to take the very few downtimes we have and coast through them—don’t do that! Use your free time to comb through industry publications, see what competitors are doing and plan accordingly. You’ll hit your next busy time armed with smart solutions and on-key strategies.
- Recognize when something isn’t working anymore. After weeks of performing with a broken hip, Gaga made the tough decision to take a much-needed break. Know when a certain message or marketing strategy is just not working and when it’s time to reconfigure. When a local Lakewood restaurateur known for his Cleveland-area Italian restaurants opened a burger joint and less than a year later switched it to Italian, the owner wasn’t afraid to admit the original concept was not working. Now, the restaurant is thriving. Recognizing when to call it quits and switch direction, or simply when to tweak a message to make it more impactful, are the keys to a successful brand.
- Be transparent. Gaga is never afraid to expose something private through her songs. This gives her a human element and makes her fans feel even closer to her. Never be afraid to show your customers what’s going on behind the scenes—both the positive and negative. If your message is on-point, being transparent shows you care and are a company that can be trusted. Customers will be loyal to you in return.
Gaga may not be liked by all, but as marketers, we should all be envious of her resounding impact. She is someone our kids and even grandkids will hear about—exactly what we want for our own brands. Who is your favorite artist, and what can we learn from his or her brand?
Olivia Mihalic is a senior account executive at AKHIA.