When I heard the news of David Bowie’s passing, I felt like I was in a shadowy room without gravity. His presence on this planet added to the richness of our human experience. As an artist, he shared with us his interpretation of life. Each of us sees the world differently, and some of us have the ability to transform individual perception into a method that can be communicated to the masses so that we all may gain some level of understanding in this kaleidoscope of realities. Bowie was able to portray his awareness of actuality to the world through his music.
I was fortunate enough to see David Bowie perform nearly twenty years ago. Not only did his voice and music elevate the experiential moment, but through his presence, I felt as if I had been taken into an ethereal realm of delight.
I was a newborn when Ziggy Stardust debuted; and, I find it fascinating that Bowie’s public persona and popularity were maintained throughout my life to date. From mint green and orange plaid pants, to lace gloves and crimped hair, to black everything, I found myself comfortable in fairly basic attire in my adult years (although, I wear glitter whenever I can). David Bowie fashionably and musically expressed himself in so many ways that he couldn’t be defined by any specific era. And, just as I have enjoyed a vast array of musical sounds that began with Cyndi Lauper and ventured into The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Samuel Barber, and everything – well, almost everything, in between, around, within and beyond, Bowie was able to carry his music through all of those generational genres.
So the question arises, “How was a man in my parents’ age group able to remain an influential musician and unforgettable personality in pop culture for so long?” He adapted to the trends and ideologies of the times. Bowie was like a chameleon and changed himself at the height of his personifications and popular tours to meet emerging societal identities.
The Verbaliser was a tool co-developed and utilized by Bowie to generate lyrics. He compiled words and phrases often taken from current news and then programmed them to randomly generate new texts that he incorporated into his songwriting. This technique reminds me of the use of social media algorithms that gather information from our digital engagement. Although the concept of this process dates to the early twentieth century, Bowie was able to use it as an innovative tool to make music that was relevant to his current audience.
Looking at Bowie’s success in marketing himself, we can apply the basic principles that he made use of to our marketing strategies. Not only was he a magnificent musician and international sensation, but he was able to sustain his passion by effectively reinventing himself again and again for over fifty years as an artist. From being a hippie songwriter, to a glam rock superstar, delving into soul music and German electronica, and taking many character roles as an actor, he was always recognized within popular culture.
As in any life fully lived, Bowie took moments of retreat or ventured into other aspects of his talents such as painting and acting. Although his music was never silent, there were times when his albums weren’t at the forefront of the music scene. His success was maintained through other avenues, and he continued reinventing himself. Bowie was an innovative artist and, thus, remained in the public eye.
Bowie’s example of successful marketing was sustained through adaptation to the changing times. Marketing has undergone many changes over the decades as well. Digital marketing has become a powerful tool and necessary component of strategy in excelling in competitive consumerism. Listen to your audience, switch it up when demands change, and be willing to reinvent yourself to the growing wants and needs of your market.
In wrapping up my thoughts about David Bowie’s ability to successfully reinvent himself, I must quote his character, Special Agent Phillip Jeffries from Twin Peaks, “It was a dream! We live inside a dream!”
Although our acknowledgeable experiences are recognized within a tangible world, the awareness gained by individuals is based on subjective interpretation. The capacity to extensively share such with others is a gift. Likewise, successful marketing accesses the feelings and thoughts of consumers; and, products that adhere to those formed expectations are created. Revenue is generated as the demand increases through a contagious urge to identify with the idea of a product, hence meeting the intended outcome of marketing efforts.
Digital resources are accessible to almost everyone and provide an effective means through which to brand your company. As digital assets have the capability of reaching multitudes of consumers, utilizing their power is a smart call in your marketing strategy. HRD has all the components you need to succeed in leveraging your place in the market.