Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Three Lessons on Success from Lady Gaga

Last night I became a Lady Gaga fan. Or, in Gaga's words, I'm now one of her "little monsters". I was teeter tottering on the edge of being a fan until I saw Lady Gaga in concert. Check out this Detroit Free Press review for more concert details.

The concert got me thinking about how Lady Gaga rose to stardom so quickly. I wrote before about the beauty of simplicity, but Lady Gaga is a perfect example of how doing exactly the opposite can work to your benefit when you're doing what you love.

When you break down her star power, it becomes obvious that she can teach us all a few things about finding success.

1. Be unique. This may seem like a "captain obvious" suggestion, but I bet you can name more than a handful of people who are trying to carve out their own pathway to success by directly copying off others. She may be an exotic blend of Madonna, Marilyn Manson and David Bowie, but she's done an awesome job of differentiating herself among these and other music moguls.

2. Be better than your competition. Britney Spears was previously the queen of pop/dance music and high energy concerts. Lady Gaga has dethroned her. I've never seen Britney in concert, but I do know she doesn't sing live. Lady Gaga sang her entire set live, bounced around the stage in choreographed dance numbers, played the piano (sometimes while standing on the bench) AND sounded amazing. The best way to beat out your competition is to show the world why you deserve to be on top. Lady Gaga has raw vocal talent, and sadly, that can't be said for everyone else who sings pop music.

3. Be real and sincere. Lady Gaga's show was supposed to be at a different venue, then it randomly got switched. A lot of people's tickets (including ours) got messed up in the process. Lady Gaga apologized for the venue swap during one of her chats with the audience. Unexpected, but very much appreciated. Her sincerity came out several more times during the show as she talked to the crowd about finding fame and what her fans mean to her.

You know she's real because her songs have meaning and tell interesting stories woven with love, pain, insecurities and fear. (she also writes her own songs). Lady Gaga made it very obvious that she's no southern belle. Nor is she trying to be. Love her or hate her, what you see is what you get.

You can take these lessons and apply them to any individual, company, brand, product, service, etc. Throw in some hardcore passion and perseverance with the above suggestions and you've got a nice recipe for success.

If you're ga-ga for Gaga and have learned anything from this 23-year-old mega star, please share!


Jamie Favreau said...

I agree she has talent but I was bored by her show. I guess she is unique even though it seemed like she was the mix of artists you named I would throw Cher in there as well.

But as far as creating a place for herself in the world. Totally agree.

Lindsay-Jean said...

Oh I'm jealous, I think she's fabulous - sounds like a fun night!!

Nikki Little said...

Jamie - Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Linds - I definitely had a good time at the concert!

Hubert said...

More artists could do themselves a favor and skim this article to get a sense why they are or why they aren't succeeding at making it comfortably pursuing their passions. I have a lot of respect for Lady Gaga, regardless of "the spectacle." It is working, because there is actual talent and wherewithal in play in her case.

Great piece, Nikki!

Nikki Little said...

Thanks, Hubert! I appreciate your feedback. Lady Gaga does spawn a lot of attention because, like you said, she's quite the spectacle. But she has true talent to back it up, so her attention is well deserved. Same principles can apply to a business/entrepreneur. Just look at Gary Vaynerchuk!