Business longevity? Take after Madonna

I have followed this woman’s career since 1987, (yes, I know, I’m dating myself) and for me, it was first and foremost about the music and looks, but recently I started wondering about her business side and how, in a youth-centered, industry she has managed to achieve longevity. Bear with me, ’cause this can be applied to business in general.

Through the course of our lives, we make decisions that will alter our levels of success and failures. This doesn’t exclude the more business-savvy superstars. We admire them, and often wonder, how can we achieve that level of success and longevity in our business?

Madonna has used multiple strategies to stay at the top of the music business for over three decades now, but how did she do it?

  • Keep it together. Madonna herself has stated, that she is not the best singer, nor the best dancer ever, but there’s something that she’s recognized for Practice!
    It is well known that during her shows, she goes through the entire concert allowing her to gauge the crowd’s reactions and “play around”, making her live experience even better. So, take the time to practice what you’re good at to deliver the best experience in tune with your business.
  • Jump! Even though Madonna herself looks down on her dancing skills, she is still famous for them. How do you keep yourself going for 2 hours/ 3 times a week? You get fit!

Studies show that great leaders are often working out or following strict workout programs. Madonna is known for her regime: she spends hours in the gym; running, yoga and practices healthy eating which add to the sustainment of youth and promote longevity.

  • Express Yourself. Align yourself with companies that share the same core values as you do.
    Being a leader is not about “tricks” or “techniques”, it comes from within. Recognizing the same core values of the organization your work for, within yourself will help you achieve your goals.
    Defend these core values; it is ultimately what you are. Madonna has been an avid advocate for many causes, specifically speaking about AIDS when others were afraid of the topic.
“Better to live one year as a tiger,” she said, “than a hundred as a sheep.” And living like that, has kept her on top for over 30 years.
  • Push. Know the industry you’re in! Madonna started playing drums in a band, handing out demos at a club because that was the nature of the industry was back in the day. Having a solid understanding of your business inside/out will open more opportunities for you: Seize them!”
  • More. Just because your core values don’t change, it doesn’t mean your style should remain the same. Madonna is a singer, songwriter, actress, author, director, producer, fashion designer and fashion model for worldwide brands like Versace and Louis Vuitton. If you don’t understand or even like Madonna’s music just remember the old saying: “Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.”
    Reaching out and diversifying a brand can lead to being recognized by more than a single product, so think about what you are good at and nourish it.
  • Something to remember. The key to staying relevant is knowing your key market. She really knows what her fans want (sometimes she fails :cough: the children books :cough:) and is not afraid to share the limelight with other pop stars (Britney, Christina, Justin and Miley to name a few). Sharing the spotlight speaks of the ability you have to collaborate with others. Those who keep the glory all to themselves often end up alone.
  • Impressive instant. Business ventures can change in a second. You should be prepared for things to change in an instant. Be open to amazing new opportunities; that can only be achieved if you have an open mind and embrace change.
  • She’s not me. By keeping herself different from everybody else in her industry, Madonna has been recognized for consistently delivering something shiny and new (all puns intended!). Keeping yourself fresh and ahead of the pack will help you avoid being boxed in or relegated to a corner.

Take a Bow

Nowadays, many people try to bring Madonna and her many achievements down: She holds the Guinness Record as MOST SUCCESSFUL FEMALE ARTIST OF ALL TIME. Madonna is beyond that. From a business standpoint, she should be considered an example not only for pop stars but to everyone who wants to leave a mark on the business world.

Luis Hernandez Blanco