‘What we can all learn from the ‘Material Girl’!

madonna-vogue11Love her, or loathe her (and I am a fan myself), we can all learn a lot from great achievers in whatever field that we are in – and as a music Radio Professional myself – Madonna is a woman at the top of her game in Entertainment, and  is a perfect example of someone who we can all learn a lot from.

Contrary to popular belief, Madonna had a late start (in relative terms) and it was only her determination to succeed that allowed her to make that much sought after ‘big break’. Not only did her initial ‘break’ not come easily, but she was astute enough to see herself as the ‘brand’ that she wanted to be, very, very early on. It is fair to say that Madonna has an average voice; and average dancing skills; but she has very far from average business acumen! She had branding down to a fine art, way ahead of the pack! If you have read any of my previous articles, you may know my obsession with “knowing your brand” in whatever field of business one is in.

From the very start of her career Madonna has learned to evolve; but not just evolve once a trend is in place, but to spot the upcoming trend and “be it” before other people catch on. That same acumen can be used by us all. Whether we work in entertainment; finance; retail; whatever our line of work – if we do not adapt our business strategy, as trends change, we are doomed to fail. It seems blindingly obvious to say it, but we are all guilty – myself included – of sticking to the format we know. But if a format is failing; we must adapt quickly and decisively. The World is a fickle place in 2014, and the “gloves are always off” as we teeter precariously out of recession. If we do not anticipate what our clients; our audience; our listeners; our viewers (need I go on) want ‘down the line’ – we will all as Professionals face problems.

No business, or business Professional can assume that what works today, and attracts a client base, will work in 6 months time. Success relies on adapting ahead of the decline! We are not able to ‘read crystal balls’ – but in the same way Madonna (however outrageous it may be) seems to be so ‘in tune’ with her brand and her market, we must surely take the time to look at those who manage to buck the trend and stay afloat whilst others fall.

Consumer loyalty is a thing of the past. Who would have believed the downturn that Tesco has experienced in recent times in the UK, not so long ago. They seemed to ‘have it all sewn up’. The same could be said for many high street retailers; and indeed many businesses across the Globe. Failure to adapt, and see where we as individuals are failing can be catastrophic.

We all need to look at what is working for us today; and assess if that will work in a few weeks and a few months. Basically, what I call, “The Madonna Model”. Whatever your thoughts on this 56 year old lady – you know that she is never going to fail. Why? Because she has shown us over several decades how to do it……business. Not the songs; not the dances; not the concerts…business. How does she do it? By ‘getting out there’. We all make the mistake of sitting behind computers; reading social media sites and thinking that is enough. It is not. Ask yourself, “how many strangers have I spoken to this month”? If the answer is none, then you may be guilty of staying in a dangerous ‘comfort zone’.

We must all – whatever we do – talk to people outside of our own safe ‘bubbles’ to be ahead of the pack. To revisit another point I made in a previous article – “the gigs you don’t accept are as important as the gigs that you do accept”. Would Madonna perform in the ‘wrong’ sort of venue; with the ‘wrong’ sort of audience. No. Because her brand would be compromised and she is far too astute.

If we all aim to be way ahead of the curve – year after year, decade after decade – we could all be as successful as the ultimate ‘Material Girl’!


Linda Wright



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