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4 PR lessons we can learn from Lady Gaga

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – one of the biggest, and arguably most controversial, stars of the 21st Century. Well, you might know her better by her pseudonym, Lady Gaga. I’ve even heard her being described as ‘the very thing the music industry needed to shake things up’ by some, and as ‘an over the top gimmick in a meat dress’ by others (I’d personally have to agree with the latter). Whatever your opinion, you can’t deny that she must have done something right to have established herself as a globally-recognised household name with a net worth of over $110 million. In my last blog post, I shared some tips on ‘How to Get Your Brand Name Out There’ – like any other superstar, Lady Gaga is a brand, and a highly successful one at that. So let’s take a closer look at what PR strategies she’s implemented to reach where she is today:

‘Just Dance’ even if it’s to your own tune
It might be a bit intimidating at times, but don’t be afraid to push the limits and try something a little different. Lady Gaga has done that with everything from her music to her somewhat eccentric dress sense (a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘mutton dressed as lamb’). Of course, one has to be prepared for the barrage of criticisms this might attract (let’s be honest, not everyone is going to ‘understand your art’ or see eye to eye with your vision), but there’s something to be said of the ‘high risk = high return’ philosophy. I would have to advise that whatever risks you do take, try to make sure they’re well-calculated ones.

Not all of us are ‘born this way’
There’s nothing wrong with identifying what’s worked for your predecessors and incorporating it into your own business model. It has been said that Lady Gaga is following in Madonna’s footsteps with her latest album – the style of music as well as the album artwork is highly reminiscent of the Queen of Pop’s work from the 1980s (possibly her best decade yet!). Be careful though, while imitation may well be the highest form of flattery, there is nothing flattering about plagiarism!

‘I’m your biggest fan’
Give them a chance to follow you until they love you. Do this by getting your tweet on. With her highly active online persona, it’s no surprise that Lady Gaga was the first person – ever – to gather 10 million followers (or her ‘little monsters’ as she likes to refer to them) on Twitter. Effectively utilising social media to communicate with your fans, or any target audience for that matter, is something that we’ve talked about time and time again. Social media platforms give you a chance to step off that pedestal that you have been placed on and mingle with the masses, and even better, you get to do it in a safe and sturdy environment where you’re not the victim of a stampede of over-excited fans. I can’t stress just how important it is to make yourself this accessible, not only does it give you the opportunity to see first-hand what’s being said about you (fantastic for damage control when you’ve fallen prey to false rumours) but also does wonders for your likability.

Don’t give them a ‘Poker Face’
A little transparency can go a long way. Given the elaborate costumes and extravagant on-stage theatrics, it might seem a bit naïve to refer to Lade Gaga as ‘transparent’.However, she has been known for her tendency to go all out and bare her soul to the world in interviews, creating a deeper bond with her fans and keeping them coming back for more.Understandably, for many businesses or individuals, complete transparency is simply not an option. Be selective in what you can and cannot share with the public and make sure that the information you want to disclose is communicated to your audiences in an efficient and effective manner that holds their interest. Remember, people only know as much as you tell them – so, if presented in the right manner, it can seem as if you’re revealing a whole lot more about yourself than you actually are.

So while we may not all have that certain je ne sais quoi that she seems to exude, we can still take a page out of Lady Gaga’s play book and apply it to our own business models. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Ms. Germanotta, it’s that no matter what your product, how you market yourself does wonders in positioning you a step above the rest.

Who else can we look to as role models for their stellar PR tactics?