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Gossip Girl

November 19, 2010

In this Thursday night insight Cristin Malone discusses how a bad habit lead to a refreshing view on market research

This past weekend I took part in something that I am ashamed to admit. It’s a little embarrassing. I was overtaken by something that is completely unnecessary, totally fabricated, crude and at times disgusting: you may know it as “celebrity gossip”. It all began with my favorite sweats, my couch, and my decision to re-watch episodes of Sex and the City (aka SATC). As a die-hard SATC fan, I have seen every episode at least twice, so it was very easy for me to be distracted by the fashion and gossip magazines neatly stacked on my coffee table.

At first I began skimming through “quality” magazines, Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, then I downgraded a little and skimmed through Cosmopolitan, and ended with an old Esquire magazine that had Katy Perry on the cover. Luckily my in-take of celebrity gossip ended there and I didn’t make it to People, Teen People, or Star magazine. However, my reason for why I stopped reading is just as embarrassing as admitting I read gossip magazines. After skimming through Esquire, I got up went to my computer and actually googled Katy Perry. Yes, I googled Katy Perry.

I actually forgot why I was looking her up, because as I typed in Katy Perry’s name in Google’s instant search, it appeared as “Katy Perry (Hudson)”. Intrigued I continued with the “Katy Perry (Hudson)” search and found out that the singer was originally named Katy Hudson, and prior to her career as a pop performer, she was a Christian singer.

Wait, a Christian singer? Prior to singing about kissing girls and liking it, she was singing about the Lord? How, and I mean how did I not know this? So I called a few friends and realized I was late to find out this piece of information and also realized that many of my friends had a moral issue with Katy’s change in identity. I wasn’t at all bothered by the fact that she changed her image, but more concerned with the how. How did she re-brand herself so effectively? What actions did she take? And how did she know when and where and how to do those actions? My interest became less about Katy Perry and more about the concept of re-branding.

The more I thought about it the more evident it became that Mrs. Perry (she recently wed Russell Brand – there is some gossip for you) did not forgo her transformation from church girl to pop star alone. Her re-branding required an in-depth understanding of the music industry, including:

• What type of songs to sing?
• What type of music listeners to target?
• How to reach her target market?
• Unmet needs of music listeners
• Barriers to enter the music industry
• Discovering a niche in the market
• What her physical image should be?
• Among other key understandings

There is no way she went from Katy Hudson to Katy Perry without having a team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals behind her. Then I thought she chose her team wisely, but what if she hadn’t? Would she still have become a star?

That’s when I really came to love what we do here at B2B International. We play that supportive role to our high level, intelligent, and talented clients. While we may not be able to make our clients pop stars, we always strive to combine our research and consultancy experience to deliver effective brand strategies to our clients. As seasoned and knowledgeable market researchers, we provide our clients with actions on how to re-position and brand themselves as they enter new markets as well as help them discover their niche as they take on market challenges and the restructuring of their image.

The reality is that no matter the industry, the market is always evolving and success is often contingent upon maintaining a brand or an image that is current and forward thinking. The brand represents what the company is and so as a business continues to establish or re-define its image, it’s important to have the right people on your team, because what’s the point of re-defining your image if it’s only going to be a one-hit wonder?

One thought on “Gossip Girl

  1. Nancy says:

    This is a very good article, because you have successfully shown how corporations are taking thier branding cues from the entertainment industry. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and many other entertainers took thier lessons from Madonna. Madonna learned from Cher and and the list goes on.

    Entertainers have always had to be a step ahead of the marketplace. People are fickle and the decision to be a fan is personal and the public will like you today and hate you tomorrow.
    It is as if entertainers always had some form of social media that helped them read the needs of their public. It is good that coporations are using these systems.

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