I’m still catching up with all of the outpouring of positive comments, new connections and contacts from Friday’s feature on Mashable syndicated from Business News Daily. I know that people must be curious to know what it was like to work on Lady Gaga’s team, and I have to say that it was a far cry from what it would appear based on a certain comment made.
First, there was really no “I” in team. We all worked tirelessly to make this a successful project. From my team that worked for me at Atom Digital, to the team at the label, the management team, to everyone from the receptionist, to the woman at the top – we all pushed on overdrive for this record. We wanted to break records and were constantly trying to figure out how to leverage everything possible to make that happen. It was an effort to create as many touchpoints as possible. Remember that term, touchpoints, it will become important later.
Second, there was a lot of hard work. From everyone, especially Gaga. I remember being at the Oakland, California show, which was on the same night as the Google visit (what an incredible day, I got to meet Larry Page and Marissa Mayer, who are my kind of tech rockstars) for Google goes Gaga.
http://twitpic.com/4c9kwk – Just left Google, what a genius team. Tweeting video interview soon with details about album+Judas!
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) March 22, 2011
Not only did she do the fabulous interview (accessible here), but she also sat through a pretty extensive meeting that I can’t tell you about because I had to sign an NDA.
Let’s just say that of the 15+ people in the room, I was one and Gaga was another, Larry Page was another…amazing. But even geek-ish excitement is not what I remember most about that day. It was Gaga’s work ethic. She performed a 2-hour concert and then after backstage, had almost 100 people to individually meet, greet, take pictures with and play samples for of her (then) new album. And she treated the last person just as graciously (if not more) as she did the first. We didn’t wrap up until after 3:30 am. She was ready to head out to a club to party with the boys and meanwhile, I was exhausted by the day’s events, in the tour production office dazed waiting for a ride to my hotel to try to be ready for Twitter and Zynga the next day. She definitely outworked me, by far…this too is something to take note of if you’re looking for your own success.
Third, more ideas were generated than actual things we were able to fully accomplish. There were meetings upon meetings starting early into the process with the one question of “how can we make this even bigger?” When you have that one question driving the conversation, and if asked repeatedly, you get some pretty great responses. There was an idea for a “takeover” of various locations in New York (including Central Park), my personal favorite was “Born This Way” pop-up shops (party storefronts), and then there was the idea of getting a record…and a “healthy sandwich” at the same time (would have made for a massive “retail” footprint). BTW (by the way, not “born this way”), did you know that the largest retail music distributor in Indonesia is Kentucky Fried Chicken? But, anyway, I digress.
As the executive vice president, in charge of the digital marketing and strategy agency, we were responsible for being there, at every meeting, ready with ideas and solutions to help make this project successful. Not for the benefit of taking credit, but for the possibility of contributing to something groundbreaking and incredible.
Other than for the benefit of this post, I really hate the idea that was introduced of the concept of a “bench player.” From my role as the head of the digital strategy agency, to the project managers and account coordinators that worked for me, absolutely no one fit that description, nor should they feel that they did. As the leader of any organization, I would never use such a term. It just doesn’t exist in the context of a successful team. Oh well, it’s out there, so I might as well own it. Shout out to all the other “bench players” with Championship rings! (If you know of any specific names of these players, please let me know – maybe I should do a tribute video).
As far as the “Championship,” it was the result of many practice and strategy sessions, strategic planning and insights, ideas, dreams, actions and much effort.
If you’re reading this and dreaming of your own success, my key takeaway for you would be the following, find the touchpoints, whether they be blogs that your audience reads, places where they might go for coffee, other thought leaders in your space, YouTube videos, Google AdWords, magazines, newspapers, whatever you can identify, and maximize the number of them that you incorporate into your campaign.
In a later post, I’ll also speak about the importance of email and the role of the most important touchpoint of all, connecting to a customer at the retail point of sale, particularly online. I don’t know how many were aware, but in my opinion, one of the strongest pushes came from online retailer iTunes, who emailed every one of their customers who had ever bought a Lady Gaga track. First time in iTunes history that happened. I could only find Perez Hilton’s coverage of it, but see here.
And finally, work ethic is the most important. Be willing to work harder than everyone else, including all of the “bench players” comprising your team.
My best, Jaunique
And by the way, if you’re interested in reading more about my thoughts on successful social media strategy, I encourage you to check out my book, “Piece of the Fame” available on Amazon and the iBookstore
Wow, Mashable. As a dedicated reader of Mashable, BusinessNewsDaily, NME, TechCrunch, PandoDaily and the numerous other media platforms that describe aspects of my industry, or at least a large portion of it (amen to my Google RSS Reader), I was humbled and excited to see the recent article discussing some of my previous work with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album during the time that I was running the Atom Digital agency. Even more awe-some (yes, I do mean it that way, awe-some) was the literal outpouring of kind words, outreach, contacts and connections with some pretty amazing people. So again, wow, Mashable! And double WOW BusinessNewsDaily, where the original article was published.
And if we’re just “meeting” because of Mashable, or Fox News, or even word of mouth, I’d like to welcome you and let you know that I plan to stay interesting enough to hopefully keep you coming back. I have a lot to share.
My blog has been a little silent lately because in addition to speaking/consulting and the associated travel, I’m hard at work on a Webisode series (found an amazing editor who matches my sense of humor) and I thought that might be more engaging than just words on a page. Time crunch aside, what I did want to take the opportunity to do, here, was to add more context and color to the strategy work that I did with Lady Gaga and hopefully give people (or you, who’s reading) more info that they can use.
First, the “Born This Way” album was a major, major release. It had so many touchpoints that were worked on by so many people, it almost could be the subject of its own book (or its own Mashable post that you can access here). The directive for the team (including the management team, my team which was the Atom Digital digital/social media marketing and strategy agency, the label, and the PR team) was to bring the album to as many people as possible. But, that’s the directive for most albums. Where this strategy differed, was to bring the album to people, where they were. So, you like to hang out in coffee shops? Great, we’re going to bring you the album in the coffee shop and give you the opportunity to hear it there. You like to play Farmville? Great, we’re going to place the album in the middle of your game play in a compelling and interesting way, authentic to Gaga’s brand. You like to shop? Great, come see what’s on Gilt and by the way, check out the album. The same philosophy went for the iTunes countdown, the Google Chrome commercial, the HBO Concert and everything else. In fact, if we had managed to pull off everything we planned, you would have truly had your socks and shoes knocked off. But this was all in the effort to make it easy for you the customer, and you the potential customer, fan, friend, follower and listener, to have access to a product that everyone felt we could stand behind, because of the quality and the devotion in putting it together.
And, I guess the results speak for themselves. And like I said in the Mashable article, I would never take the credit for the success of something that large. I did my best and played my role, as did everyone else, with tireless effort. Props to the team, and most of all props go to Gaga for her vision + passion and work ethic that I had the privilege of observing on numerous occasions.
Anyway, I’m breaking my own rule of brevity, but I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t take the time to acknowledge that I might have a few new readers and friends these days. Stay tuned, I’ll make sure to keep it coming. My best, Jaunique
You never know what you’ll find there, so make sure to connect!
This is only fitting to be my first blog post at my brand spanking new website. I am overjoyed to announce that my very first book (or my second, or my third, depending how you know me) is live and available on Amazon.com. Maybe it’s a major endeavor to write and publish a book, but if you knew the story of how I got here, you’d really understand the sense of accomplishment I feel, having done what I set out to do against the most immeasurable of obstacles. To make things fair to those reading, many of whom are meeting me for the first time, and likely even more who know me already and are giving me the courtesy of their time in reading my thoughts, I figured I’d give you the story of how I came to write this book.
First, I left my position at Atom Digital at the end of November, 2011. I knew that the only thing that made sense for me at this point was to hang my consulting shingle at the top of 2012, but that just didn’t seem like enough. See, for the preceding 4 years at UMG working in digital strategy, and the past year working with Lady Gaga, Greyson Chance, Mindless Behavior, Mary J Blige for a bit, Willow Smith for a second, launching the digital “Gaga’s Workshop” campaign for Barneys New York, spending days and days meeting with startup CEO’s, VC’s, and tech gurus, I had just collected way too much knowledge to file it away, only to be brought out for special occasions. People need what I know, all people and not just musicians. I realized that, and as such, I decided that I would spend December writing a book. My objective was to neatly organize all that I knew, discovered, practiced and learned about social media marketing and brand development into a nice paperback…in less than 60 days. That’s right, I made the decision on Sunday, December 3rd, 2011 to write the book, sitting in the middle of church. My intended publication date was February 1, 2012.
You have no idea the journey that I went on in that period. I have stacks of manuscripts (because I’m neurotic about losing my data), printed out marking the day by day progress of what I was writing. I have recordings of interviews that my friends graciously agreed to schedule at the last minute (shout out to Paul Brunson, Necole Bitchie, April Carter Grant, Ryan Babenzien, Kelli Johnson, and Jeremy Caverly, you ROCK!!) that I literally had to transcribe word by word. I have a fried laptop hard drive (because wine spilled all over my keyboard just as I was finishing) whose data I’ll never be able to recover, amen to jump drives and data backup. And I have many, many nights of missed sleep. But at the end of the day, I also have one, 262 page masterpiece that I get to call my own: Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy for Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand.
It’s a great book, if I may say so myself, and I’ll be talking much more about it here, and on the Piece of the Fame Website (PieceOfTheFame.com). It explains social media from my perspective, from the degree of insight and visibility that I have had not just into the technology and social media platforms, but also the best practices from those who have leveraged it most fully.
Check out my book, buy a copy (or a few copies) and come back often. We’ve got a lot to talk about.