May 20, 2011

Lady Gaga: Branded this Way

Though she’s been topping the charts with hits like “Bad Romance” and “Born this Way,” Lady Gaga has claimed the #1 spot on a new list: The Forbes Celebrity 100. The 25-year-old pop sensation pushed Oprah to the #2 spot after earning $90 million in the last year. Oprah has been ranked No. 1 four times over the past seven years.

Whether you think she’s a musical genius or a Madonna rip-off, you must admit that Lady Gaga has a strong personal brand. The mere mention of her name is instantly recognized by fans and critics alike. Lady Gaga has managed to be so successful and stand out from a slew of artists and singers by creating a personal brand that resonates with consumers. She embraces her strangest qualities and presents herself as the “Mother Monster” who is too fierce to let criticism bring her down.

And her numbers reflect this. Lady Gaga’s concerts grossed $170 million and she sold an estimated 15 million albums worldwide. Her new album Born This Way hits stores later this month, but the title track is already the fastest-selling song in iTunes history, hitting one million downloads in just five days. And her “Little Monsters” (Lady Gaga fans) aren’t the only ones with deep pockets. Lady Gaga’s endorsement deals include Polaroid, Virgin Mobile, Monster Cable, Viva Glam, and a recent partnership with Starbucks.

Lady Gaga’s brand is about embracing the outcasts who are teased, just like she was. Anyone who doesn’t belong has a safe haven in Lady Gaga. She sings her personal story on stage, giving a voice to the socially disenfranchised. Lady Gaga knows her core values and plays to her strengths. She has created a unique personal brand that sets her apart from others in the music industry.

Lady Gaga made $200 million less than Oprah last year. What put her on the top was something money can’t buy: 32 million Facebook fans and over 10 million Twitter followers. Her social-media savvy is key to her success and building brand loyalty. Lady Gaga connects with her fans by tweeting all the time. It’s an important part of who she is and why she’s so famous. In the social media space, Lady Gaga trumps all celebrities, even Oprah with nearly 5.9 million Twitter followers.

With a strong personal brand, loyal fanbase and chart-topping social media presence, this monstrous brand is here to stay.

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