Jackie Huba

Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics

With 23 million albums sold, five Grammy awards, and Forbes’ distinction as one of the world’s most powerful celebrities, it’s no surprise that Lady Gaga is one of the most well-known pop artists in the world. And while known as much for her voice as for her over-the-top wardrobe, few recognize Lady Gaga for her stunning business acumen – which has given her legions of loyal fans worldwide. Fans that are eager to buy her music, her concert tickets, and any and all products related to her. She’s not only created a brand, but is cultivating a fanatical group of consumers that that will follow her for the next two decades of her career and beyond.

In Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics, customer loyalty expert and best-selling author, Jackie Huba, argues that Lady Gaga didn’t become the success she is today based solely on her talent. She did so by engendering immense loyalty from her fans – not just through her music – but through the message she inspires and the community she has built around that message. To anyone in the business community, this sounds like a classic case of loyalty marketing and customer cultivation – and it is.

In four short years, Lady Gaga has built an army of passionate fans that numbers in the tens of millions around the globe. Here, Huba explores how she did it, uncovering seven loyalty lessons and providing a playbook for building this kind of loyalty in any organization:

  • Focus on Your One Percenters – Gaga spends most of her effort on just 1% of her audience, the highly- engaged superfans who drive word of mouth.
  • Lead with Values – create an emotional connection with customers by showcasing what you believe in
  • Build Community – connect your most loyal customers with each other to strengthen the bond with you
  • Give Fans a Name – Gaga calls her fans her “Little Monsters.” A name give customers a way to self-identify as part of the group.
  • Embrace Shared Symbols –shared symbols helps customers bond by creating a collective experience
  • Make Them Feel Like Rock Stars – become a fan of your fans and find ways to make them feel special
  • Generate Something to Talk About – make your business “word-of-mouth-worthy” by continually giving your fans reasons to talk about you

Huba looks at the world through the lens of business and marketing, and believes conventional businesses stand to value tremendously from studying and employing Lady Gaga’s intuitive customer strategies.

With examples from businesses such as MINI, Fiskars, and Maker’s Mark, Monster Loyalty offers a complete case study that can be modeled in companies large and small to build, maintain, and expand the core customer base central to their success.


Praise for the book

“This smart, savvy, and fresh exploration into the business of iconography is a great read for Lady Gaga fans, popular culture researchers and scholars, individuals or organizations looking to start a business or branding campaign, and business/marketing educators and students.” –Library Journal

“[Monster Loyalty] is thick with stylish ideas, artful insights, and valuable information that any company or individual can use.” –Success Magazine

“A thought-provoking, well-executed look at one of the biggest music sensations of this generation (full review here).” –Publishers Weekly

“Jackie Huba has played a monster role in orienting so many of us to the critical concepts of 'evangelism' and 'fan passion.' This book brings it all to the surface with -- dare I say -- Gaga impact and intensity.” –Pete Blackshaw, Nestle Global Head of Digital & Social Media and Author of Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000

“In Monster Loyalty, Jackie Huba artfully mixes some of the biggest trends in marketing with the lessons that Lady Gaga has embodied throughout her meteoric rise. The result is a monster of a book that will teach marketers in every field how to build legions of devoted followers.” –Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman

“Marketers may wonder what their soap, car, or computer has to do with a celebrated pop star. The answer is everything. Jackie Huba spells out the lessons from Lady Gaga we ought to be applying today in order to build advocacy for our own brands.” –John Bell, Global Managing Director, Social@Ogilvy

“Chances are you won’t put on a meat dress after reading this but you will be inspired to create your own loyal following of little monsters. Lady Gaga’s marketing genius has always inspired me, but thanks to Jackie Huba, I now understand how to apply her lessons to my brand.” –Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method and author of The Method Method

“Outstanding! Jackie Huba incisively outlines how Lady Gaga cares and nurtures the "monsters," her most ardent and loyal fans, and shows how any brand can use her principles as a guide to developing their own long-term brand advocates.” –David Witt, Director, Global Digital Marketing and Brand PR, The Hershey Company

“People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. That’s one of the secrets that has made Lady Gaga more than just a pop star but the leader of a movement. Luckily, Jackie Huba has masterfully deconstructed how any brand can take Gaga’s lessons to heart and inspire true, lasting loyalty among its fans.” –Scott Monty, Global Head of Social Media, Ford Motor Company