This is a brand that has made the world sit up and take notice, for not only is it worth millions, but it also teaches us important lessons in Brand Building. The day she changed her name from Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and rebranded herself as Lady Gaga, a star was born, both for the music world and the business world. Single handedly, this ‘Lady’ has shown the world how to build a brand and how to do business in today’s crowded market place.


Lady Gaga is not just a singer, she is the way of doing business in the future. If you want to ensure that your brand will survive in 2025, it’s time to learn some quick lessons from the Lady. She understands the system the best.

The business model of the future has some new rules now. However, some ground rules never change. For starters, your product has to be good. Everything depends on this. Like all good brands, she first ensured that her product is good. Yes, her music is good and she can sing. She works hard on her lyrics, writes them, conceptualizes the music, the video and the costumes. Working on her piano, she ensures that her “core product” i.e. her music is of great quality. We all know one simple fact; no amount of brand building will do you good if your product is not world class. Secondly, you need to understand your audience very well. You need to keep a finger on the pulse of the audience. No one has been able to understand the market the way she does.

She knows what excites them and what intrigues them. Many may find her costumes outlandish, but they work for her and her fans wait for her next appearance, just to see what it is that she would wear next. Whatever she does, she has them eating out of her hands. The third lesson one learns from this entertainer is the benefit of staying “in-the-news” all the time. This is not an option, but it’s a necessity of today.

In today’s market place, if you are ignored, you are doomed. That is one thing this Lady has mastered. She cannot be ignored. Every appearance of hers is well thought of and crafted. Be it a bird’s nest, a model of the solar system on her head, or be it her meat dress, she never fails to grab attention. In fact, she will go to any extent to grab attention. In one of her interviews, she recalled an incident where, during her early days of struggle, she was playing at a bar (in USA) filled with drunken NYU students and no one paid a hoot to what she was playing. She says, “I started playing in underwear at the piano,” and suddenly everyone was looking at her and listening to her song.

Just creating a buzz is not enough; you need to know the right places to create the buzz. The audience of the future will be spending a lot of time in cyberspace. Whenever Lady Gaga makes an appearance, she does it with one intention – to create the maximum buzz there. With over 145 million blogs in cyberspace, more than 50,000 new blogs being created everyday and over one million new blog posts being posted each day, the internet is a very crowded place today. To get noticed, to be written about by maximum people, requires a very sharp marketing mind. Gaga has her moves scripted so well, for she knows exactly how to get talked about. Just a great product will not get you noticed. You need to get the tongues wagging. Gaga cares not whether or not you like her, all she cares aboutis the degree of buzz that every act of hers will generate. While she works on her music, she meticulously works on how to make clips that would be lapped up by YouTube, how to dress and what to speak, so that the twitter world will start chattering! Brands too have to ensure that if they want to survive, they must have a strong presence in the cyber world, for the audience of the future is going to be here.

Her every act is a practiced, well prepared and well targeted marketing gimmick, to help build the Lady Gaga Brand. She obsesses about every little detail and it pays. Businesses of tomorrow have to remember, that if their products are not being talked about, they would disappear soon, however good their quality.     Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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American Airlines spent tons of money reupholstering seats in their entire fleet and then of course spent more publicising this fact. They ran ads in all leading newspapers and magazines with the headline “Fly in leather”, for now they knew they had an edge over their competitors. Excited by their terrific ad campaign they decided to take it across borders and share it with their potential Spanish speaking customers. Of course, this time they translated it in Spanish, so that it would have a wider appeal. However what they got was rather unexpected. A lot of Spanish speaking people complained about these advertisements. Much to the horror of the airline, when they looked at the Spanish advertisement & translated them back again in English they realized, their snappy headline “Fly in leather” had changed to “Fly Naked”!

Don’t Translate
Just because you have a great ad-campaign, does not guarantee success in all markets. Since business today is done in multiple markets, each different from the other in terms of culture, language, religion et al, it makes sense to be ‘culturally sensitive’ while doing business.

As a starter – don’t translate – if you want to avoid global mishaps and embarrassments. The Dairy Milk Association learnt it the hard way. After its hugely successful campaign “Got Milk” popularized the benefits of milk in US, the company decided to continue its victory march to Mexico with the same campaign. However it had to beat a hasty retreat after it realised that the Spanish translation actually read – “Are you lactating”. Wrong translations landed Parker Pens in trouble when the ads which were supposed to say “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” turned into “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. Coors beer wanted to show you how you could let your hair down and have fun with Coors, when it made its tagline “Turn it loose”. The Spaniards were not pleased when they saw a beer that helped you “Get loose bowels”. The Chinese too got really suspicious of this drink which promised to “Bring your ancestors back from the dead”. The various Chinese characters had distorted the phrase “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation!”. Unfortunately, no one in China (which is already heavily populated) wanted to bring their ancestors back!

Today, every brand is on the lookout for broader markets – mostly international. Many times, it is the language barrier that can harm a campaign & even the overall brand. To reach new markets, mere “translations” never work. From the obvious, hilarious faux pas, to the serious marketing blunders, everything can be avoided if we look beyond translation.

We need to look beyond the language and into the cultural differences in languages. We need to “transcreate”. Quickly defined, it would mean “not just translating content, but ensuring it is culturally relevant as well”. Such a measure will take care of the cultural differences & language nuances.     Read More....

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