Stefani Germanotta considered herself to be a social outcast in high school. She was “weird” compared to most girls at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York. Fast-forward to now. That same girl has blossomed into a pop icon with an immensely dedicated following. Since crashing onto the scene in 2008, Stefani has made quite a name for herself…and it’s “Lady Gaga.” Check it:
– 32 million Twitter followers
– 5 Grammys
– 13 VMAs
– $150 million in net worth
Even if she were Born This Way, we can all learn something from Lady Gaga’s virtual, overnight success story. Here are seven PR lessons to be taken from Lady Gaga:
1. Put your best foot forward.
Gaga is a performance artist, not an actor. She is hyper-focused on the thing that sets her apart from the rest. PR Lesson: Identify your strengths and leverage them. Concentrate on opportunities that allow your best attributes to shine.
2. Break the rules.
Clearly, Lady Gaga doesn’t follow the rules. Nevertheless, what she’s doing (or not doing) is working. PR Lesson: If “the usual” isn’t proving successful, try something different. This seems like an obvious suggestion, but at times we get lost in the process and lose sight of the end result. What’s exciting about PR is that we have the privilege of trying new things all the time. Innovation is an expectation, and that’s fun!
3. Let your freak flag fly.
Gaga is evidence that people identify with originality. Doing something just a little bit crazy communicates confidence, and people respond. PR Lesson: Let’s be clear. I’m not suggesting you strut around wearing an outfit made entirely of sirloins, but thinking outside of the proverbial “box” is always healthy.
4. Be newsworthy.
Gaga fans worship and mimic her every move, while some people are offended by her antics. Either way, PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT HER. PR Lesson: Create your own news. This isn’t true for everyone, but for the right business, a little harmless controversy is just what the doctor ordered!
Even my 94 year-old grandmother knows all about Lady Gaga. She used to shake her head when Gaga would turn up on the red carpet in an outrageous costume du jour, but then she decided that she would be Lady Gaga for Halloween last year. Ya never know!
5. Be one with the people.
Lady Gaga has referred to her fans as her faith and her religion, and fully credits them (over and over) with her success. She even started the Born This Way Foundation, which empowers localized, youth-led groups to build a kinder, braver world in their homes, schools and communities. PR Lesson: Connect and engage. Yes, these are buzzwords, but for a good reason. Whether you’re a nonprofit organization, restaurant or pest control company, it’s important to humanize your relationship with your target audience by engaging in activities that mean something to them.
6. Don’t give up easily.
Gaga didn’t gain super-stardom effortlessly. There were times when she was rejected and told she wouldn’t make it. But she persisted, and now she’s on top of the world. PR Lesson: It’s important to recognize that while most things aren’t an instant sensation, persistence does pay off. A great idea needs to land in the right hands at the right time, so keep your eyes on the prize, people!
7. Just Dance!
Have fun! Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!