With all the talk of understanding customers, it's sort of amazing we haven't had this discussion before. Of course, Lady Gaga is an ideal role model for anyone who wants to focus on community building and customer loyalty.
Now available at Amazon.com
In her new book, Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics, author Jackie Huba discusses just how she built her legions of intensely loyal fans and how businesses can learn from her.
Through seven lessons in loyalty from Lady Gaga, the book outlines not only what happens in Gaga's world, but also how specific companies have already adopted these practices. Some of them, although seemingly simple, are really ingenious. One of my favorites is giving your community an identity - quite literally, a name. Lady Gaga did this by claiming them as her "Little Monsters" and in doing so embraced who they were. She allows her fans opportunities to be flawed and loved anyway. The way she engages with her fans seems to remove the "on stage" persona we all see when she performs in meat dresses or giant eggs. The stories of her fans are moving and personal. And the way Gaga responds by sharing most credit with them and for them is compelling. After winning her Grammy for "Poker Face," she tweeted to her fans "We won big tonight" and thanked them for inspiring her. What a wonderful way to bring your community into a moment.
This book is full of stories like that, as well as the parallel stories of organizations who have had success through similar approaches. An easy favorite of mine is the story of how Innocent, a UK-based juice company, invited customers to knit mini hats for their bottles. For every bottle sold donning a customer-made cap, Innocent donates to a charity. It's such a feel-good, totally winning campaign. There is something about each story that made me smile. That's the thread. It's not just whimsy, it's heart-warming and real.
This book is easy to read and fun to learn from. As a casual Lady Gaga fan, the stories of how she reaches out to her typically vulnerable fans caused me to respect her more than I thought I would. The business case studies showcased real world ways to apply these loyalty-building principles to your customer strategy.
I've never hidden the fact I'm a fan of Jackie's, and happy to call her a friend. (In fact I still recommend her first book as a classic.) But this book felt fresh and compelling in a way I can't remember a "business" book being in quite a while. I'd recommend it for anyone who has the desire to build a real community. Jackie (and Lady Gaga) can show you the way.
(Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.)