Madonna and Strategy
Madonna may attribute her success to the fact that she embodies the whole concept of entertainment by truly entertaining the world. She always brings something new to the table, and she keeps everyone on their toes. Nobody can predict what is next to come, which keeps her as an exciting celebrity to follow. Whether the attention be positive or negative, she found the means to attract it. Her controversial displays did just what she wanted them to do, they made the “world pay attention.” While each of her actions maintained the attention of her fans; major events in her life attracted the attention of everyone else. For instance, her adoption of David Banda “engaged Third World politicians, anti-globalization activists, religious leaders, and assorted intellectuals.”
Furthermore, Madonna provides multiple forms of entertainment. Rather than specializing in one, Madonna does it all from singing to dancing to acting. Her celebrity status provides some form of entertainment for everyone.
Madonna’s dynamic transformations may cause it to seem as if she has no strategy, yet her various reinventions of herself are at the base of her strategy. She wanted to be noticed by the world, and in doing so, she knew she would have to differentiate herself from other entertainers. Her strategy was to create a unique image, which began as a messy, mis-matched look which she became known for; a look that teenage girls adopted worldwide. While other entertainers will maintain a look once their fame is established, Madonna continually transformed herself. She rejected the industry’s commonality of “finding a winning formula and sticking to it.” Once her look was adopted by others, it was no longer unique, so in order to follow her strategy of uniqueness, she would move on to a new appearance. While being unique, Madonna also made sure she always made sure to remain authentic to her true self. She wanted to build her own brand, and she demonstrated this as she was directly involved with each of her productions. She built such a strong image for herself that when she starred in Desperately Seeking Susan as Rosanna Arquette, the movie became more about Madonna herself.
Another aspect of Madonna’s strategy is following the emerging business model of popular music in which live performances publicized album releases. She utilized this model as a part of her strategy in order to achieve her goal of maximum recognition.
While strategy may be associated with planning, it is clear that there is difficulty in planning during times of high change. Strategy in this sense becomes more of a guideline from which short-term planning may evolve. The guideline established through strategy allows for adaptations to be made when business conditions change. Strategy outlines the key activities needed for success but does not necessarily lay out day to day activities.
Strategy should be formulated to maintain key values no matter what conditions emerge. In the case of Madonna, she initiated change as the entertainment industry changed so that she could satisfy her goal of maintaining a strong, unique image.
Strategy maintains a focus on the overall goal and mission, and preserves momentum even during tough times. Strategy essentially provides the pathway to success.
In terms of predicting success, this case outlines three major characteristics of successful individuals. These are knowing what exactly you want, maintaining a 100 percent commitment level, and handling adversity well. Success is defined differently between individuals; therefore, one must be able to identify what they consider success in order to establish their goals and to know what to work for so that they may conduct business with a purpose. Additionally, they must be 100 percent committed to their goal and put forth all the necessary effort. Madonna often worked from 6am to 11pm or 12am, and would even wake up early to train before her long days. Finally, in order to achieve success, one must face difficulties head-on, and must have the strength to address and learn from failure.
The key aspects of a successful strategy are centering the strategy around the main goal/mission. Each aspect of the strategy must serve a purpose relative to the overall goal. If there is not a clear purpose, then the portion of the strategy is simply a waste of time. Furthermore, a successful strategy is one that is unique. Madonna’s entire career was centered around being unique, which generate immense success. While uniqueness is essential as no two identical businesses may survive, it is essential that the unique aspects of a given business are tailored to the wants and needs of the target market. The individuals within the target market provide the means for success, therefore successful strategies will be considerate of market demand.