If you have not watched it by now, you can find the fifth episode of Branding Biz. Club on my YouTube channel.
Lady Gaga is also an example of a consistent celebrity brand. Lindstrom (2005) asserts that “Consistency! Consistency! Consistency” is the mantra for success. Nevertheless, consistency does not mean staying the same. It implies staying true to some core values that truly define a celebrity/personal brands. Gaga’s chameleonic and even shocking appearances on stage are not exceptions to the rule of consistency – they are simply reinforcing her message that people should be consistent in being themselves.
Empathy is also a key element of a successful personal branding strategy. This is what creates loyalty. Lady Gaga does not come across as fake or trying to sell something. Instead of saying “buy my albums”, her posts convey a great sense of devotion to her fans. Her opinions on different issues and calls to action make her fans feel like an important part of something bigger.
Lady Gaga is always the brand she represents. She has declared in interviews that the only place she is called Stefani is in court (Spines, 2010). Lady Gaga is no more a persona or a character, because “gaga” has turned into a way of life. When being asked how she behaved when the spotlight was not on her, the artist answered “I am exactly the same”. Although she might sometimes seem inconsistent, she is consistently Gaga and this is her branding secret. Her latest branding facet – Joanne (which is also one of her real names) – is a version of Lady Gaga without the look-at-me layer. It is a brave move, more about the interior rather than the exterior. “Joanne” is Gaga’s way of reinventing herself by releasing a quiet, “normal” album. There is precedent to this – David Bowie proved himself an enduring rock icon long after giving up on his “Ziggy Stardust” alter ego. Although Lady Gaga has long exhibited her true artistic talent, “Joanne” is the first large-scale evidence of her artistic talent for the masses. An acoustic soft rock album was the most surprising move Gaga could make after almost a decade of weird performances.
Mysteriousness is another important of Lady Gaga’s brand. By limiting the amount of information available about themselves, celebrities are determining their audience to want more. However, this desire has to be created with other branding techniques. Mystery must also be maintained without seeming cold and Lady Gaga does this successfully, adding a final touch to her already strong personal brand.
Because Lady Gaga does fit the definition of a strong brand, by having nearly all of the traits that make brands become religions: the feeling of belonging to a community, authenticity, consistency, empathy and a touch of mysteriousness.
Callahan, M. (2010). Poker Face. New York: Hyperion.
Lindstrom, M. (2005). Brand sense: Build powerful brands through touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. New York: Free Press.
Neumeier, M. (2003). The brand gap: How to bridge the distance between business strategy and design. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders.
Spines, C. (2010, April). Lady Gaga wants you. Cosmopolitan, 248(4), 30-34.
On May 18, 2017