4 Strategies from Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift
When it comes to marketing, the last advertising models you look at are celebrities. But here is why you should look at those that disrupt conventional wisdom. And yes, that would be Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. Two very different characters with similar strategies.
One completely changed attention-getting and the other followed in her footsteps and subsequently broke new ground.
It’s easy to assume that this is all about social media and, yes it is partly. But don’t stop reading here. It also required some brazen actions to set themselves apart from the business as usual celebrity music releases.
Lady Gaga branded herself from the start. Her name alone makes her unforgettable but then she defined her character by creating her brand. Call it weird, different, audacious or sexy. It stood out. Her attire, her hair, her clothes (or lack of them), all define her eccentricity. She picked out a successful and prominent producer, an active label and a renowned marketing agency to carry her message. She likened herself to the likes of David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Andy Warhol, all people who were eccentric and bold. [Business Strategy #1 – Create your vision, define your brand and make sure people know who you are. Be visible, loud and new! “I’m going to change the world with my lips.”]
She fed her fans (your customers) with treats that gained her a following of nearly 62 million followers on Facebook, gave them teasers with her free music videos and gained their loyalty. She usurped social media to send snippets of where she was and drew crowds in seconds. It wasn’t unusual for her to have giveaways on Facebook or Twitter. She would provoke, listen and react. [Business Strategy #2– Stay in front of your customers and give them something to rave about. Make them answer you. Connect with them on their terms.]
Lady Gaga connected herself with Elton John, DRE, Coca Cola and not only profited but tied her name to the big names. “She must be good if she’s attached to them!” She changed the way music was marketed by surrounding herself with brands that her listeners would be interested in, all within a short time of coming out as a singer. (See chart below for her success statistics). [Business Lesson #3 – Ally yourself with people who can sell you.]
Then came Taylor Swift. A totally different genre of music, squeaky clean looking and a voice that catches everyone’s ear. Swift managed to find success before she reached 20 years of age. She employed many of the same techniques that Lady Gaga did by creating a steep incline into stardom. Once you get there, you have to keep it. Swift has succeeded by branding herself as the girl next door and as she has come of age, has been a little bolder in her style. But, she still maintains a clean image with nary a scrape in tarnishing it. She too has used social media to connect her with fans but to take her brand a step further, she has protected her image by purposely buying domain names to avoid someone else trying to smudge her name. While in Hawaii, she took a picture of herself in a bikini (showing her navel) and posted it on Instagram (25 million followers), one step ahead of the tabloids. She has linked herself with big name brands netting her $33 million in revenues. It’s profitable and ties her to respectable products. [Business Strategy #4 – Keep your profile high and clean. People want to do business with honest merchants.]
Enjoy a little Gaga
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Controlling the image of your brand is what keeps your business stability. Once you have products or people that are tarnished, you spend time and money fixing them and the sting doesn’t always go away. The message these two ladies deliver is ‘go big or go home’. They put it all out there in the beginning and then moderate to a cruise. Swift is still on her upswing at 25 years old. Gaga seems to have been in cruise control for a while, but you’ll be seeing her again soon I’m sure.
“I am an artist, and I have the ability and the free will to choose the way the world will envision me.” ~ Lady Gaga