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It’s my personal opinion that corporate America – whether product or service – can learn a lesson from Lady Gaga. I believe she is one of the most compelling brands of this decade. I think those who criticize her do so based solely upon her public persona and how the media portrays her. I challenge them to at least listen to her latest albums, The Fame and Fame Monster. I think they would be surprised at her versatility and find her a true impresario/phenom.
That being said, I am impressed with the person and the brand and here I’ve compiled my top 10 reasons why corporate America can take a page from her example.
1. Be something people talk about. If they’re not talking about you then you’re dead in the water.
2. Be original. Despite criticism of drawing from others, no one has ever seen this kind of persona before. Some have come close: Madonna, Elton John, Annie Lennox, but none have risen to her level of performance art in my opinion. Sure Grace Jones has been out on a limb, but she has never captured the commercial appeal of LG.
3. Be respectful. LG admits that she readily draws upon her inspirations, many mentioned above. She’s not trying to fool anyone. All great talent draws upon other great talent for inspiration. None of us operate in a vacuum.
4. Know who you are, but evolve. This woman knows exactly who she is and does not apologize to anyone.
5. Be daring. Dangling from a wire covered in blood? Smashing a glass box holding a piano on fire? Most artists would be afraid to go to this extreme, and instead pander to a mainstream audience and the media. Not her. In every interview I’ve seen, she tells her truth. Period.
6. Back up your claims with talent. This woman can sing. She can play a mean piano too. Just when you think you know what kind of artist she is, she becomes someone else surprising.
7. Know where you came from. She constantly acknowledges her “little monsters,” and her gay supporters and in my opinion, will never abandon them.
8. Be humble. Have you ever seen her in an interview? She is genuine and humble in the face of enormous popularity and fame.
9. Have a purpose. She is dedicated to “love and art” in her own words and in the past “felt like a freak.” Her goal she says “is to reach out to her younger audience who also feel like freaks and help them know that “it is possible for them to carve out their own place in the world.”
10. Rock. Life is a party. Show up. Have a good time. Don’t take it all so seriously and find the magic in your own existence. It’s that simple. Now fly.
Sick of sitting through 15 and 30 second commercials when you just want to watch that video clip on YouTube or even on a news website like CNN or your local station? According to AdAge magazine and TubeMogul, 16% of visitors click away. And for newspapers and magazines, 25% jump ship altogether.
I’m in the business and I absolutely hate those crummy commercials. Ultimately, don’t advertisers know negative feelings could be projected onto their brand creating the speed bump in the first place. I sure do.
Here’s my thought. A 2 second branding message, say something like: “brought to you by the all new Mercedes C300, class redefined” and an image of the car driving down an idyllic tree-lined, fresh-from-the-rain country lane. Resplendent with dappled light … the whole business.
Now such a thing wouldn’t bother me at all, especially if the brand was somehow connected to the content…maybe this weeks episode of ’The Middle” where Axel is learning to drive.
My point is, too often advertisers take advantage of viewers and hold them hostage, only to annoy and leave them with regret for having sought out the content at all.
My advice? When all else fails, go with common “Cents.” Isn’t that what dollars are made of anyway?
Today I was happy to be a guest on the “Boomer and the Babe Show on KXXT 1010 a.m. here in Phoenix. The topic of the show was “building your personal brand,” and I thought I’d share here what I talked about on the show.
For any marketing program, whether you are selling a book, building a bridge or selling sandwiches, the overarching goals are the same.
1) Generate top of mind awareness
2) Design your brand identity/foster brand affinity
3) Create relationships
The same holds true with you as an individual. You want to be well known, liked and have healthy, supportive relationships right?
Well, I have 10 tips for building a personal brand. This comes from about 45 years on the planet and a whole lot of trial and error, falling down and picking myself up and general life experience.
1. Be lighthearted - there are times to be serious for sure, but try to not take everything so seriously.
2. Be informed – opinions are great but do your homework and a little objective research before vigorously standing by your thoughts.
3. Be well rounded – have things to talk about on a variety of topics. The worst kind of people are those who talk about other people, average people talk about events but intelligent people talk about ideas.
4. Be circumspect, or faithful to the absent. This is a small town. Do everything as if your mother were standing over your shoulder or what you said you would be comfortable seeing as the headline on a newspaper.
5. Tell the truth. If you do, you’ll never have to remember what you said. Admit when you are wrong, there is no more graceful act than to be humble when you stumble. Admit when you don’t know the answer to something. No one likes a know it all, especially when it’s obvious they don’t know it all.
6. Be entertaining. Not a clown, that’s something else. Find out what’s interesting in others and ask them questions. Above all listen.
7. Be mutable. Know your audience and engage them in a way they can appreciate. BUT know who you are: to thine own self be true.
8. Eliminate negativity. Right now, get rid of negative people, bad decisions and poor judgment. What you allow into your life you will continue to attract to your life.
9. Give back. Volunteer your time as well as your money. Money has a different energy than a helping hand and by giving of your time you will attract similar people into your life.
10. Be generous. Do things for no other reason than it’s the best thing to do. But do things, not because they make you feel good–that’s ego-driven. Instead do them so that you can be of service.
I’ve been laughing at this all day. Look at this sandwich label. Look closer. What’s funny? Look at the claim “New Superior Taste,” which begs the question … what the heck did it used to taste like? What chain of unfortunate events from concept through design to approval found this little gem making it through the sifter? Hey, I’m all for celebrating the greatness of your product, but this is down right hysterical. BTW I submitted this to a certain talk show host. I hope it makes it on the air.
I haven’t thought of Walt Whitman in years, but recently he seems to have made a fairly significant return to my life. I’m reading Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham…brilliant as always. The story weaves the thread of Whitman throughout, from his poetry to Cunningham’s character creations. Cunningham characters are allegory to Whitman’s poetry.
Now, enter a new Levi’s commercial directed by the amazing Ryan McGeary whose images are set to music and a haunting performance of Pioneers O’ Pioneers, taken from an obscure 1950s album of Whitman’s poetry.
I wasn’t sure what to think of the commercial at first, wondering what Whitman’s words had to do with selling jeans. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was with Whitman’s words against the backdrop of American Youth and the concept of stepping beyond oneself and becoming something more by changing the world, exploring a new undiscovered country within ourselves. So, after googling Pioneers again and reading the poem several times, I started searching out what others were saying about the Levi’s commercial. This blog has some very interesting comments from literary students about the merits of the commercial with some very strong opinions on both sides. I always find discussions about brands interesting but this one seems to have piqued my interest even more. Perhaps because of the Cunningham novel I’m reading. Needless to say, some very divergent ideas about Whitman’s poem, the imagery and ideas about neo-socialism and other comparisons. Ultimately though, I think Derek Dukes made the best argument. He said:
“I too was led to google ‘Pioneers Oh Pioneers’ and discover that it was in fact a Whitman poem.
I don’t really view this as commercialization of Art, the commercial seems to draw a connection between the Levi brand, which came out of Pioneers heading west heading the call of Manifest Destiny. It seems there’s a good case to be made that over the years Levi’s have been the chosen fashion for Pioneers, from the Gold Rush miner 49-ers, beat poets like jack kerouac, 50’s rebels like James Dean & Elivs to today’s urban hipsters on fixies. Like it or not, Levi’s have been a key piece of identity for American Pioneers.
This is the second set of ads I’ve seen that shift from a ‘our brand is awesome’ message to a ‘you’re awesome, we help you be awesome’ message. The other set of ads are the Quaker Oats ‘Go Humans’ ads.”
I’m going to think on this concept of “you’re awesome, we help you be awesome,” and blog about that later.
Without drawing my own conclusions about the meaning behind the commercial, I can appreciate the medium as art and with all good art, it generates discussion. Truly, the worst thing in the world is to be boring. It’s great when people talk about you. Either way. It’s when the marketing gods smile on us.
Art in many forms, is … well, art. And personally, I love it when art like Whitman’s is revived, shared, discussed and again shows us what it really is…immortal.
What do you think of the commercial? I’d love to hear from you.