Three Personal Branding Strategies I Learned From Lady Gaga

 When my SXSW smartphone app woke me in Reno today to remind me to get my lazy ass up and watch the live stream of Lady Gaga being interviewed, I did, although I am not quite sure why. I could never really call myself a fan, having never bought an album, although I did recently watch her entire performance I caught on Saturday Night Live when she hosted. As Lady Gaga is such an uber force on Twitter, I often cite her as brand to aspire to be like for connection and fan engagement. She never ceases to surprise and delight her Lil' Monster crew and I respect it even if I was not one of them.

After what was touted by the internet as a 'shock show', The First Lady of Awesome candidly spoke about her performance last night and whilst I was not there to witness the madness included a mechanical swine and being vomited on by a performance artist Millie Brown, not once but twice.

Whilst not everyone’s cup of tea as it relates to her choice of performance art, she certainly had much to say today about her past, her fans and her ethos as an artist that we marketers can take note of.

The Official Doritos #SXSW Bold Stage Poster   

The Official Doritos #SXSW Bold Stage Poster


Lesson 1:  "Don't Sell Out - Sell In!" - Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga takes some bold strides in her work, pushing boundaries and pressing envelopes as she continues to evolve as an artist and as a woman. (She is turning 28 next week!) In this cozy interview she articulated that early in her career she was criticised that her show was way 'too gay'. She was recommended to tone it down. Rather than follow the opinion of her record label and industry pundits, she turn inside. She took this as a compliment because a strong core of her fans were gay as well as those friends close to her. To exclude them as a part of her demographic would be like asking her to have a personality lobotomy  and that frankly was never going to happen. 

Gaga is keenly aware of who is most loyal to her and those fans whom celebrate her uniqueness and accept her as she morphs and grows as an artist. What I took from this is that we should invest in our advocates more in relationships where the most value and love can be created and remember the 80/20 rule of business. I'd rather have dynamic personal relationship and hang out with those folks who are my true friends and advocates than waste time pleasing folks who frankly don't matter.

Lesson 2: "Nobody will remember what you Tweeted when you are dead." - Lady Gaga

 Whilst the Mother of All Monsters is prolific on Twitter, she articulated how she wants her fans to feel as a result of their connection. I know so many marketers who place so much emphasis on creating amazing posts and putting together 140 characters of sheer brilliance but at the end of the day, Twitter won't make our products, businesses or companies any better. Social media on any channel can't save a crappy company. You gotta love it when a pop star gives props to her CRM platform (only at SXSWi) as she explained that she uses Salesforce to manage her relationships. My take away from this is mindfulness and creating meaningful and memorable relationships face to face. Twitter and Facebook are just places to celebrate that connection, not a substitute for pressing the flesh or collectivity. I don't care how many apps we launch, I still want to walk into a room and hang out with people that I like.   If we remember what Maya Angelou and Gaga said as a rule, what I post will just continue and complement that face to face feeling. 

Lesson 3: "Be Bold" - Lady Gaga

Part of lack of fandom for the pop princess is her weirdness. Perhaps that is because I know the influence of that weirdness having been best mates with her former personal assistant, Jennifer O'Neil back in Washington DC in the early '90s when she was just a college grad before she moved back to New York and I went off to LA and it their tiff was slightly off putting. Or, maybe the meat as a dress was just weird. It is hard for me to take sides when I was very close to one side once upon a time and can't fault Jennifer's work ethic. 

The interview turned me around. Her poise and confidence and her genuine passion for her fans was engaging. She spoke about her foundation and how her work inspires many who in life are also born a left of centre and who aren't in the main stream. Her strength to do the unthinkable, support originality and celebrate emerging artists is admirable. So, Applause Lady Gaga, you won me over.