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  • Lady Gaga covered in meat - the beginning of the end of recognition

    We guess none of you missed Lady Gaga receiving her MTV Video Of The Year award in a dress made of raw meat. Last time Heartbeats brought up the lady on this blog, we wrote about lessons brands could learn from Gaga’s successful incorporation of the four Es (of emotions, engagement, experiences and exclusivity) in her personal brand building. However, since then her search for attention has accelerated, and her increasingly freaked out methods must be perceived as symptoms of marketing gone sick. It is recognition for the sake of recognition, in an era where more than ever, people seek brands with relevance that add meaning to their lives.


    In the past 50 years not many brands have had to go as far as dressing up in meat to get the recognition needed to sell products; TV advertising used to do the job pretty well. Attention was easily bought, and consumer behavior was fairly simple to predict. But the digital revolution of the last 15 years of has changed this rapidly. All of the world’s information is just one click away, and we are facing a saturated market, where brands compete with anyone anywhere to get people’s attention.

    We can see at least two ways companies have tried to meet these challenges (sometimes combining the two). Firstly, we have companies that seem to believe in the model that if they just increase their marketing budgets and media investments, sooner or later consumers will be persuaded to buy into their products. Though what these brands have left out of the calculation is that today recognition means nothing without relevance…

    Secondly, we have companies who are fully aware of the importance of being relevant. They have understood that everyone is connected (and thereby competes with one other), so they have moved the focus (and thereby marketing efforts) away from merely ‘buying recognition’ to deserving it. They have added value and a higher purpose to their overall communication and marketing strategies. Instead of pushing out information about product benefits, they tell memorable stories, leaving the idea about persuading their customers behind, in its place helping them create more meaning in their lives. Simply put, they have chosen relevance before recognition.

    At Heartbeats, we have seen our own clients facing this problem of recognition vs. relevance. Often they have a product that is well recognised on the market, but not considered relevant or the preferred brand of the target group. People don’t buy into the story of the brand or just don’t feel strongly enough for the brand. This has resulted in our communication department developing entertainment, music and culture strategies with higher purposes, transcending traditional marketing through the four Es adding true brand relevance and touching the hearts of our client’s customers.

    Lost Sthlm - Axe Soundsystem from Emil Rydberg on Vimeo.

    Let’s hope that the desperation Lady Gaga seems to have in keeping attention isn’t spreading to brands that want to stay relevant in the marketplace. Seriously, can anyone tell us what could possibly come next after covering yourself in raw meat? All ideas are welcome…

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