Editor’s note: Jackie Huba is the author of “Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics”. She is also co-authors the business blog, “Church of the Customer.”
(CNN) — According to Lady Gaga, “When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condom-less sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time.”
Translation: It can really pay off when you don’t play it safe.
When it comes to your work, pitching your next big idea or even applying for that dream job, remember that people don’t dwell on the humdrum. Whatever your project, your idea, your resume, you should go big. Create something remarkable. Give your coworkers and supervisors—current or potential—something meaningful to talk about.
Lady Gaga is one of the best-selling music artists of all time: 23 million albums and 64 million singles sold worldwide, Five Grammy Awards, 13 MTV Video Music Awards, Billboard magazine’s Artists of the Year, Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, No. 1 on Billboard’s list of top moneymakers, and Forbes title of the world’s most powerful celebrity… the list goes on.
But Lady Gaga is not just a pop star; she is an incredible businessperson.
She’s a pro at causing a stir. Her business ideas push the boundaries of possibility, leading to great innovations in everything from social media to perfume. And when introducing her new ideas, she’s the undisputed queen of the dramatic entrance.
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But there’s always meaning behind all that madness, and both business people and job seekers can learn a thing or two from the Manifesto of Mother Monster, a speech she made in the music video for the song “Born This Way.”
Cause a Stir
Remember the meat dress she wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards? That outfit –love it or hate it –got everyone talking. Gaga didn’t just don raw meat for the shock of it. She used the dress to draw attention to the U.S.’s policy of gay men and women serving the military. The gesture drew enormous amounts of attention from the mainstream media and Time magazine deemed it the “Top Fashion Statement of 2010″.
When trying to attract an audience, whether it’s for a big project or a new job, why not cause a stir by doing something outrageous yet meaningful?
Don’t just show up in couture charcuterie or engage in hollow tricks to get noticed. Take a moment to consider whether what you’re doing is word-of-mouth-worthy, whether it truly stands for something. Then go for it.
Lady Gaga was hesitant about creating her own perfume and didn’t want to have just another run-of-the mill celebrity scent. “I wanted to create a fragrance that somebody who makes fragrances says, ‘Well, how did they do that?’ ” Gaga explained to Vogue magazine.
Gaga presented her idea to the executives from Coty Beauty. The perfume, to be called Fame, must be black in the bottle, but when sprayed, become clear. Coty balked. It had never been done. But they decided to give it a try, and a few months later, their R&D scientists came through. They invented an opaque-to-clear perfume technology that is now patent pending.
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Yael Tuil, vice president of Coty Beauty’s global marketing department gives props to Gaga for making them think outside the box, saying, “She was really behind the most important innovation in the fragrance industry in the last 20 years. She is really pushing boundaries.”
What’s your equivalent of Lady Gaga’s impossible perfume? Embrace those daring and innovative ideas. You never know, they just might push everyone in a new direction or land you that dream job.
Make an entrance
The press, fans and television audiences watched, agape, as a supine Lady Gaga, encased in a translucent egg-like contraption, was carried by four scantily clad male models down the red carpet at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Gaga was to perform her single, “Born This Way,” a song about her vision of transforming the culture into a kinder, braver world where everyone is valued. She captivated everyone’s attention before the show in the egg, or “vessel,” as the fashion houses Hussein Chalayan and the House of Mugler wanted it referred to.
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Is there a dramatic way to introduce your next great idea or captivate your audience? What’s the ideal “vessel” for you to transport your idea to its next phase?
As Lady Gaga has shown us, it’s the right combination of generating a buzz and the meaning behind it that engages her fans.
Buzz just for its own sake will only go so far, and it can often backfire. Instead, follow Lady Gaga’s example for creating meaningful experiences. Don’t resort to pony tricks, unless you’re trying to be the office trick pony. Draw attention to your worthy work in ways that spark conversations and make everyone feel more creative and energized.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jackie Huba.