Disclaimer: fans of Lady Gaga or Adele be warned, some elements of this post may hurt your feelings, do know I appreciate them both. People who don’t like them, still can read on. Last year Jamie Anderson, Jörg Reckhenrich and Martin Kupp took an interesting and inspiring look at ‘Gaganomics‘ in “Lady Gaga: Born this Way?”, but now that we know the final recordsales of 2011 we learn that it’s not the extravagant Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta who has won the top prizes, it’s instead Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, better known by her first name, outselling Lady Gaga by the millions. Should we thus need to take a look at ‘Adelonomics’?
One could argue that they have much in common. You look surprised? Both put a lot of emphasis on being authentic. While Lady Gaga is being true to her self in being her extravagant personae, Adele is choosing to portray herself as vulnerable and down to earth. If you take a look at her recent live video you’ll get, besides her stunning voice, personal stories, little frustrations, etcetera. They both know how to feed the press with a steady stream of stories and yes, they are both gifted but were smart enough to surround themselves with other talented people.
Almost all of Adeles’ songs were written together with experienced songwriters, but still all fans feel like they are coming from her heart. She studied at the Brit school, together with for instance Jessie J and Leona Lewis, but still was discovered in a Lilly Allen kind of way through Myspace. Her clever management and Adele herself made choices that to some almost seem stupid in this day of age in the music business. She doesn’t wanted to do festivals or big stadions, while she could easily fully book them. Reason why? She would rather spend the time “drinking cider” with her pals. She thinks her music doesn’t fit this big events and she’s too scared. Yes, she’s not taking the quick buck, but it pays back in many ways. I wonder if she’s selling so much cd’s (you remember, those round little silver things) as if there never has been any downloads because she’s not doing so many liveshows.
Maybe her fans want to have an object to cherish?
This is in fact a good example of building a good brand and being consistent in it. Authenticity is important in music (cfr Peterson, Barker and Taylor), but I do think that there is a reason why the authenticity of Adele outsells Gaga.
The “brand Adele” is much closer to the everyday life of the people listening to her music. Gaga is something fun, somebody to dream away with, someone who makes big gestures. This is the friend you like to go out with, with whom you know you’ll have a great time and even makes you really think about stuff. But not every night please, because it would be too much. Adele can stop by anytime, because she’s the gifted, shy but still funny girl next door. Not perfect in any way, just like anybody else. Gaga needs to say to her fans that she’s not perfect and that she has her own personal doubts, from Adele her fans just know that this is the case. So… What can we learn from Adelonomics?
- You do need talent
- Surround yourself with other gifted people
- Know your brand well
- Go for authenticity by being close to the core of your brand
- Make consistent choices based on this knowledge (don’t ask yourself what would Google do, but rather what would your brand do)
I can’t advice you on which star to follow (I’m an educational scientist, remember, so what could I possibly say about marketing), because I don’t know if your brand is closer to the extravangza or closer to Adele, but do know that both their success is definitely no coincidence.