Wow you must be thinking? What the hell does the marketing of my brand have to do with pop music and Madonna?
Pop music symbolizes the product of mass Marketing and the evolution of cultural trends you can apply to any industry. There are those creating those trends and then there are those having success riding on them.
The latter has the most success and the former has varied success depending on how in tune it is with the trends it's following and how quickly it jumps on them to be relevant. Much like a Brand.
(Those who don't do either fail)
Madonna is a pop star who does both. Mariah Carey is one that does the latter. Both successful pop brands but everyone knows who is the icon of the two.
|One is successful, the other is an icon (credits: EW)|
One takes risks, does controversial things, constantly reinvents herself (for better or worse), tries to be different and the other one markets herself to the standardized requirements of the pop culture machine.
Mariah Carey is more attractive, has superior vocal range but isn't as successful as Madonna. Art isn't standardized, nor is it about being perfect.
It's not what you have, it's how you use it
Madonna is considered a sex symbol not because of her looks but the way she has projected it in the marketing of her personality, her constantly reinvented image and musical styles.
Which has resonated with fans who feel empowered by that as something they can feel in themselves.
|Madonna through the decades (credits: AutismWonderland)|
A brand that identifies with culture and time
Madonna has transcended the music and it has become a symbol of what her fans felt and culturally identified with at that time. Your brand should be this way.
There should be a timeline of radical change and innovation you can look back upon. Madonna in the 80s is nothing like the 90s, or the 2000s. Nor can you predict that change. Madonna represents brands like Apple.
Then you have your Mariah Carey brands. Less a revolution than an evolution if you look at the same timeline. Mariah is Microsoft, a brand that had success when it was new and is now looking stale. At best riding late (Zune) on trends or not committing enough to them (Windows Phone 8).
|A Mariah Carey brand (credits: Cnet)|
Marketing leadership mentality
One takes risks and succeeds. The other rides on its strengths and hesitates to succeed.
This isn't enough.
Ultimately fans, consumers (whatever you want to call them) get bored of the latter, just look at Mariah Carey's latest record sales. To paraphrase Seth Godin, playing it safe in marketing is risky business.
The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about at all
If your brand has a history of being predictable, no one cares what you have to say. They already know.
Madonna's fans and the media get excited at the news of an upcoming album because of the "what is she going to do next?" speculation in the media. She has an unpredictable history.
This is the exact same thing we see every year when Apple holds its conferences announcing new products. "What product will they bring out next?"
Just look at the iPhone 6 speculation as Apple unveil it this week. Like Madonna, they're iconic. They set the trends and dominate the media because everyone who wants to follow those new trends must tune in to find them.
|New product hysteria (Credits: CultOfAndroid)|
Turn your brand into a Madonna product
Ask yourself these questions. Am I making safe decisions? Is fear of change or risk breeding complacency in my brand?
Do something crazy and exciting with your brand!
Like an aquaphobic jumping into a swimming pool for the first time, take that plunge. Do one thing out of character with your brand designed to shock. You'll feel exhilaration, as will your customers.
Like that time you heard "like a virgin" for the first time and everyone was talking about it. Have a Madonna moment with the marketing of your brand.