Tim Mikulski

As I continually seek new information to contribute to our various electronic and print publications, I come across a ton of info that I want to pass along to the field, but they end up sitting on my desk waiting as other topics or projects rise to the top over that information.

In light of that, I thought this blog post can serve as an early spring cleaning (we definitely haven’t had a real winter in D.C. this year) of some of the marketing content I’ve been holding onto.

These two items are from Fast Company, a publication I highly recommend subscribing to if you are looking for different ways to address technology, design, or business issues within your own organization—particularly in the marketing realm.

When it comes to personal branding, an article from early January discusses five steps to building a better personal brand:

1. Have a home base online. While Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are excellent destinations to promote what you do, make sure that you also invest time and energy into your own personal website. Whether you take advantage of easy-to-use tools such as Squarespace or WordPress, a simple and clean online home for all your professional information and social streams is a necessity.

2. Be a better blogger. Although online pundits regularly declare that blogging is dead, such as Jason Calacanis did at a tech conference toward the end of December, blogging has simply become much more diverse. It’s no longer necessary to write multi-paragraph posts (but of course, that’s why you still come to ARTSblog), but instead services such as Tumblr make it easy for individuals to share shorter entries or snippets of text that often include photos and other multimedia. A weekly blog update (or more frequent if you can afford the time) that includes some shareable content is a useful way to drive traffic back from social channels to your website (and to establish yourself as an expert on a topic).

3. Avoid mobile mistakes. In April 2009, we often referred to Ashton Kutcher as the King of Twitter. This past November, the actor posted a tweet defending Penn State’s Joe Paterno (without realizing the sex abuse controversy surrounding the coach) that inspired a “hailstorm of responses” from Kutcher’s many followers. Once again, this was an example of how 140 characters or less can immediately damage someone’s reputation. Moreover, with more people posting from mobile phones, it’s far too easy to make a real-time mistake like this…In other words, when networking on the go make sure you carefully review what you’re about to push live or, perhaps a better idea, wait until you have a few minutes to review the update without so many mobile distractions.

4. Never stop networking. For non-celebrities who build themselves into well-known brands online, take a look at how frequently they interact. For example, social media author (and awesome National Arts Marketing Project Conference keynote) Scott Stratten has tweeted more than 84,000 times. If he’s not sharing digital wisdom across his many online channels, he’s responding to messages and reaching out to people to keep the web conversation going. If you don’t know where to start, whether it’s on LinkedIn or Twitter, find five new people to follow or connect with every day. Make an effort to share something these people have posted or, a simple task, reach out and say hello.

5. Adopt new services. When it comes to personal branding, there is a lot of emphasis on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but there are plenty of other channels to tell your story…While it’s not critical to jump on every newly launched service, it can help to choose two or three of the most popular services and then every few months try a new platform on for size.

And now the tips mentioned in the headline courtesy of Lady Gaga:

“There is much the corporate world can learn from this 25-year-old diva whose talent for building a brand might even surpass her formidable performing chops.

Here are three things businesses should borrow from the woman christened Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta:

1. Connect—and stay connected—to creativity. Have you ever wondered where the idea for Lady Gaga’s meat dress came from? The dress, made out of fresh beef, surprised people across the world. It later went on to be preserved by taxidermists, and is now on display at the Women Who Rock exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Another question to ponder is how Gaga’s scant 1,234 tweets generated millions and millions of fans. The tweets did not in fact come from Lady Gaga herself, but from Haus of Gaga, her behind-the-scenes creative team. This is not a clever exercise in renaming. The Haus of Gaga is made up of individuals who inspire her, pick up on trends, travel with her, and help create her outfits and shows. What they all have in common is that they each have direct access to the performer. The distance from idea to action is merely one conversation away.

2. Create a direct pipeline to your customer’s soul. Branding powerhouse Lady Gaga’s innovative strategies touch every part of her business—from marketing to social media to pricing her products: Lady Gaga’s ability to get so very close to her audience and understand their needs, as well as cater to their hopes and musical tastes, is far from a coincidence. One of the secrets of her success can be found in a nondescript van that follows the concert tour, going wherever her team goes.

Most top performers produce their music at recording sessions in discretely luxurious studios. Lady Gaga does things differently. She takes along a mobile recording studio wherever she goes. A recording team, on call 24 hours a day, staffs this mobile studio. As a result, most of the songs she produces are recorded within hours of leaving the stage. She does this to capture the zeitgeist of the moment, tapping into the very DNA of her audience.

3. Be vulnerable. In contrast to almost every other accomplished performer out there, a major ingredient in Lady Gaga’s success has been her ability to show an authentic vulnerability. She often shares stories about her own life with her fans, or “Little Monsters,” as she calls them, and never shies away from revealing her insecurities and listing her many mistakes. The Little Monsters love it. Not only does she manage to mirror her fans’ personal problems, but she also manages to unite them in a tight-knit tribe.”

Arts Watch is the bi-weekly cultural policy publication of Americans for the Arts, covering news in a variety of categories. Subscribe to Arts Watch or follow @artswatch on Twitter to receive up-to-the-minute news.

2 Responses to “Put a Little Gaga in Your Marketing Strategy (from Arts Watch)”

  1. Ann Marie says:

    Excellent post, Tim! So where DID the idea for the meat dress come from????

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Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.