2324 (this week actually), Lady Gaga has rocketed to global fame in less than two years (of course that depends on whose counting as she was playing piano at age 4 and rockin’ New York nightclubs at 14). She recently broke Billboard’s record as the first artist to have her first six singles reach number one. She’s won two Grammys, sold over 8 million albums& 15 million singles digitally worldwide. While her performance art-style stage shows and bizarre outfits have garnered much buzz, it’s her loyalty marketing that may sustain her for years. And even if not- hey- she did in 24months what it took Madonna 8years to do- and in a farrrrr harsher climate. Gaga is dedicated to her fans and clearly knows the elements of cultivating a community of evangelistic fans cult.
With that, here are Jackie Huba’s 5 lessons about building
brand loyalty a cult, Lady Gaga-style:
1. Give fans a name. Gaga doesn’t like the word “fan” so she calls them her “Little Monsters,” named after her album “The Fame Monster.” She even tattooed “Little Monsters” on her arm and tweeted the pic to fans professing love for them. Now fans are getting their own Little Monster tattoos. By giving the group a formal name, it gives fans a way to refer to each other. Fans feel like they are joining a special club. (Related business examples: Maker’s Mark Ambassadors and Fiskar’s Fiskateers.)
2. Make it about something bigger than you. During her concert tour, Gaga recites a “Manifesto of Little Monsters” (text) (video). Although a bit cryptic, most Little Monsters see it as a dedication to them, that her fans have the power to make or break her. (Related business examples: Smoque BBQ (pdf).)
3. Develop shared symbols. The official Little Monster greeting is the outstretched “monster claw” hand. As all Little Monsters know, the clawed hand is part of the choreography in the video of her song “Bad Romance.” Gaga tells the story of watching a fan in Boston greet another fan with the claw hand and that’s when she knew this was the Little Monster symbol. Even Oprah knows the Little Monster greeting. Shared symbols allow fans to identify each other and connect. (Related business example: LIVESTRONG yellow wristbands.)