Why Madonna and Gene Simmons matter

When I was a teenager, I didn’t understand the singer, Madonna. Neither, Gene Simmons from KISS. Okay, I still don’t entirely understand them, but I understand why the word “reinvention” was constantly associated with both. It was why she and he remained so dominant for more than three decades in the ruthless music industry. As a business owner, I see the need for constant reinvention in order to stay ahead of the competition. Reinvention is a good thing, it powers us to personal growth. Today, let´s see how to reinvent yourself and your company for the new challenges ahead, no matter what your situation in life currently is.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”  – Joseph Campbell


Don’t Reinvent the Goodyear!

Chinese gooseberries were going nowhere till they were renamed Kiwi fruit. With this re-baptism of sorts, this humble, nondescript looking fruit somehow took on the flavour of an exotic, lush green country. The reinvention wasn’t earth-shaking; the results were.

Madonna does just that. While her radicalism has seen an outward change in every avatar, the core change isn’t overly dramatic or complex. Every reinvention has caused her to add bold yet simple colour to her garden.

Too many marketing people change twenty things all at once. Confused customers don’t care. Gradual progression they can handle and want. Dramatic change scares the heck out of them, often causing them to switch brands suddenly and permanently.

Even hardcore Madonna fans found the leap from music to movies too complex. She flipped and flopped her way through the popcorn aisles and came out triumphant on theEvita side. Yet, you’d prefer Julia Roberts to do the drama bit instead of doing a Grammy number, wouldn’t you?

Simple snip-snaps you and I understand. Which is why even Einstein kept it down to E=mc2 despite reinventing everything science stood for.

What Madonna Learned from Houdini

Gasp! That’s what the audience would do, every time Harry Houdini cheated apparent death. Except that death was a deliberate stroke of genius to keep the name of Houdini alive forever.

Madonna seems to have used the same bag of tricks. Reinventing herself in almost clockwork fashion, she has transmogrified herself successfully into virgin, material girl, boy toy, dominatrix, media maven to working mom. And made big bucks all the way.


Can You Carry it Off?

Hey, Frank Sinatra was a great singer, but he just didn’t have Madonna’s figure and he’d look crappy as a blonde. Which is pretty much the crux of the issue. If you don’t have the ability to carry it off, you don’t. Not at least in the glare of the spotlight.

Madonna’s outward reinvention is her most dramatic feature, but at the same time she’s plugging away at her new spiritualism and lifestyle and hopefully it reflects in the lyrics as well.

Sting is a good example of a parallel Madonna run backwards.

Starting out like Billy Idol, he has wound his rock roots down dramatically and enriched his music to encompass several genres and languages. It’s a quiet manicured reinvention, that his fans lap up in eager anticipation

Sometimes the reinvention is loud and sometimes its soft but it’s never non-existent. Pop stars are good examples because it can often take one album to make or break them. You can serve twenty shoddy meals at your restaurant and still get away with it, but they can’t. Even the stars that appeared to exude stillness like Frank Sinatra, were actually living very close to their brand image and their noun and adjective.

Frank was a Coke– He stood for classic. Likewise, that’s what his music had to do. Elvis was a white singer singing black music and that’s radical. Which is why his gyrations on stage fit in perfectly with his uh-huh style. On the other hand, you could only take so much of Boy George. Know why?

At the end of the day, the calories are the proof of the pudding. If you don’t stand and deliver, you can reinvent to death without any change in your bottom line whatsoever.

How Does your Garden Grow?

For your business, there are several avenues that you need to magnify and reinvent. The main areas that you need to look at are:

1) Your Communication: Logos, Newsletters, Emails, etc. Do they really meet your clients’ needs? Have you got so busy doing things that you’ve forgotten to reflect your true worth to your clients?

2) Your Customer Loyalty: Are you stretching these parameters? Are they getting less or more loyal? If yes, why? If no, why not? What do you need to reinvent and re-analyse? And do you have a customer loyalty program at all?

3) Your Failure Analysis: This is a biggie. If you’re not analysing and welcoming failure, you’re going to be stuck on your island for so long, that you’ll sink once global warming gets worse. If you want to double your success rate, you’ve got to double your failure.

The Key to Reinvention is Simple

a) You’ve got to die a thousand deaths and come out on the other side.
b) Simplicity is the key.
c) Your brand image is money in the bank. Don’t ever change it.
d) Wear the mini only if you can carry it off. Remember there’s a market for minis and gowns simultaneously.


The most powerful actions are those you do daily

Can you think of an action you could do daily? Something that’s done by those you are wishing to be like?

There is a huge amount of power in actions you repeat on a daily basis. Those daily actions, while new at the beginning, quickly disappear into the fabric of what you consider normal life. Days go by… weeks go by.

That’s when beautiful things happen. You wake up one day and realize that your “reinvention” is much farther along than you imagined.

One day I was a classical musician, soon after I became a business person.

The core of who I am changed. But it didn’t change from the inside out, it happened from the outside in.

I’ve discovered that there is nothing magical about the process of reinvention. It is simply the product of real work. Again, daily work is best.

There is no reason to wait. This is your life that is ticking by–moment by moment. Once this moment is gone, it is not coming back.

Want to be someone you’re not? Then be that today. Do the work, rinse and repeat, and you’ll blow by everyone else in no time.

While you’re reading, Madonna will be hard at work on the next step. Isn’t it time you got to work too?

Source: Madonna, Like a Virgin

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