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I confess – I have been converted to a Lady Gaga fan. And no it was not the platform patriotic shoes or red dagger nails from her Superbowl performance that won me over. She won me over with her business savvy – here’s why.

From the time “Just Dance” was released in 2008, I was not sure if Lady Gaga was an original talent or a Madonna knock-off. But she didn’t care about skeptics like me. She spent her time with her emerging fan base – what Jackie Huba, who wrote Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics, calls the 1%.

Now Gaga is being invited to pay tribute to David Bowie during the upcoming Grammy Awards. She has clearly done a few things right during her career. Jackie shared examples of Lady Gaga’s business savvy during the recent NRF Women’s Leadership event. Here are a few loyalty examples that consumer brands can use:

  • Focus on the consumers who are “liking” your brand on Facebook, pinning your brand on Pinterest, and more. Cultivate that relationship with emotional connections to the brand and one another. Loyal fan + active community is a force multiplier for a brand.

  • Give your brand fans exclusive access. Find ways to make them feel special. This may be advance shipments of new styles for a shoe designer, taste testing parties for a chocolate brand, or home decorating workshops for a housewares brand. Bottom line: an experience = a memory = a loyal brand fan.

  • Give them something to talk about. In Huba’s book, she recounts how Gaga famously pushed Coty to develop a perfume that became a best selling product. Gaga wanted a perfume that appeared to be black in the bottle and transparent on your skin. She gave consumers something to talk about and she benefited from skyrocketing sales.

So whether you’re a Lady Gaga fan or not, you have to give her credit for her business savvy. And I for one will be watching the Grammys!

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