Lady Gaga: Musician, Icon, PR Pro?

When you hear the name “Lady Gaga” what do you think? Pop music and crazy outfits might be the first things that come to mind, but what about public relations?

Claire Sykes, a blog writer for Xposure, a creative brand marketing company, stated in a post that, “Lady Gaga has mastered her brand and this is down to effective Public Relations, building the reputation which, to this day, she relies upon to further her career.”

Lady Gaga has achieved more success since her debut studio album four short years ago than most PR practitioners can create for their clients in a lifetime. For example, if it’s social media success and influence that matter, Gaga has that mastered. She is the most followed person on Twitter with nearly 15 million followers, and her Facebook account reports more than 44,000,000 “likes.”

What about product launch campaigns? Gaga’s got that in the bag too. After months of teasers, early song releases and CD art clips, Gaga’s most recent album sold nearly 1.15 million copies in the first week alone. She knew exactly how to keep her fans interested and excited enough so that when the time came to finally release her album, they bought it in droves.

But what sets Lady Gaga apart as a PR pro? It’s the fact that she has mastered the most important job of PR practitioners, which is to create and foster relationships. Granted not everyone loves her, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more passionate, devoted and loyal fan base than Gaga’s “little monsters.”

One example of how all of Gaga’s PR talents can successfully merge as one is in her Google Chrome commercial:

This video shows evidence of Gaga’s unique product launch capabilities, her usage of traditional and new media, and her ability to connect and build relationships with her fan base.

Whether a fan of Lady Gaga or not, you can’t deny that she’s found an extremely effective way of branding herself. As a self-confessed Lady Gaga fan, I think her authenticity and message of acceptance have gained her a following that is uniquely impressive. But it’s how she maintains her image, her brand, her relationships with her fans, and her talent that, I believe, have made the perfect storm for magnificent PR success.

Do you consider Lady Gaga a master of PR? Why or why not? Do you think there is anything (good or bad) PR practitioners can learn from Lady Gaga?

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8 Responses to Lady Gaga: Musician, Icon, PR Pro?

  1. rsutherl says:

    I personally think Lady Gaga is filling a vacuum for celebrity eccentricity that Andy Warhol and others left vacant. I think she displays about 20 percent of Madonna’s talent and 80 percent of her gift for sensationalism. But that’s just me!

  2. rsutherl says:

    As for what she can offer PR, I think she struck gold in identifying herself with the “freaks” who always feel out of place. That hooked a large portion of the world’s adolescent population right there. She has branded herself their leader, one who makes it okay to be different, even celebrated. But how can 44 million “likes” have anything to do with a freakish outsider who doesn’t fit in?

    I think David Foster Wallace wrote something along the lines of, “We are all the same in our single unspoken belief that we are different from everyone else.” Maybe that sense of being different, even if it’s the same as the rest of the lot, is what brands ought to aim for — tap into the individual’s drive to fit in, yet support his/her desire to be unique.

  3. dlkline says:

    Admittedly, I am not a passionate Lady Gaga fan, but do admire her work and her message. I do agree that she has some rather good PR skills at connecting with her audiences/fans. She may offend some with her strong opinions, but I think she connects with more fans who agree with her than not. I also agree with her PR success trifecta of talent, image and fan connectedness. I saw her on the Saturday Night Live finale show of last season and was equally impressed with her singing, acting and crowd-pleasing personality. Yes, she is a master PR machine.

  4. smwillar says:

    I watched both the videos and I found them to be very helpful in my understanding of Lady Gaga’s “Art of Fame,” especially the 60 Minutes segment. I would definitely consider her a master of PR because she has found a way to work in harmony with the media and control her own message. Oftentimes, I think what gets public figures into trouble is that they don’t know how to effectively communicate what they want to say to the right audience. Lady Gaga uses this ability to her advantage.

    I don’t think there is anything that PR practitioners can learn from Lady Gaga that they can’t learn from someone else. Unfortunately, flashy costumes and beautiful music aren’t always go-to tactics as practitioners have to consider a lot more than this in their line of work. However, Lady Gaga does serve as a great example of someone who can use various public relations tools to boost her image.

  5. ammarty says:

    I definitely consider Lady Gaga a master of PR because she has the proof of her devoted fan base and worldwide recognition to prove it. I can safely say there is probably not one person in the entire universe who has not at least heard her name. Not only has she been successful at getting her name out there better than any other pop culture icon, next to Madonna, she has people who genuinely love her for who she really is. Underneath her out-of-this-world costumes and disguising makeup, she is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for who she is and what she believes. Her brand successfully encompasses acceptance and tolerance of ALL people and that is something I cannot say many others have been able to do. In fact, I can’t even think of one person who is on the same playing level as Gaga.

  6. estrapko says:

    Similarly to Madonna, Lady Gaga has an amazing PR talent — she is able to be provocative, relate to the fans and inspire. Same as Madonna 20 years ago. Their personas and careers have lots of similarities. One of the most significant is that they have both been very lucky that at the same time as their career started, a breakthrough medium that was able to promote them emerged. In case of Madonna, MTV in 1983; in case of Lady Gaga, social media at the end of 2000s. I don’t think they could have ever been so famous without then existence of these media, although their immense artistic talent is indisputable.

  7. lworthin says:

    I admire what Lady Gaga has done in branding herself. She has not only created an image that is unmistakably her own, but she has utilized social media in a way that allows her to reach out to her fans. Though she may not have as much talent as other musicians, she knows how to connect with the people that are important — her audience. What this should show PR practitioners is just how important having a conversation with your audience can be. You can have a product that may not be as good as others, but if you keep a good connection and make it something that’s interesting enough, there is plenty of audience for it. Personally, I enjoy Lady Gaga. She’s a great actress and an interesting character that speaks her mind and stays (as far as I know) out of trouble. She has done an amazing job in marketing herself and continues to be a hit.

  8. abwolfe says:

    Lady Gaga terrifies me. If I saw her and a mugger in a dark alley, I’d take my chances with the mugger. Despite my irrational fear of her, I’ll be the first to admit that Lady Gaga is a marketing genius. Her songs (and music videos) are always the most anticipated of the year, and at every awards show, people can’t wait to see what absurd outfit she’ll be wearing. Her brand is to be crazy, but it reaches all members of society. She always calls her fans her “little monsters,” and in reality, she brings out the monster in them. Whether her face is on an album or a perfume, her fans will buy it. She is beloved for being her crazy self and not being sorry for it. She has sold her image and personal brand better than nearly anyone else in the music industry, and it definitely is credit to her multiple unapologetic campaigns.

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