Gaga is the only top40 pop artist to make the list on her own.As her record 18.4 million Twitter followers can attest, Lady Gaga has turned the idea of social marketing on its head. The provocateur/innovator isn’t simply a pop artist or a brand—she is a way of life. Without Gaga’s Little Monsters, there would be no Beliebers for Justin Bieber or Barbs for Nicki Minaj. That sort of influence with fans has been entirely transformed through Gaga’s branding deals.
When Virgin Mobile sponsored her tour, she worked the company into the show itself by way of a nightly phone call to a fan in the audience. As creative director for Polaroid Grey Label, her presentation at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show affirmed that she was an active participant in the creation of future products. All of which is merely a piece of the Gaga puzzle: She’s a singing, dancing, performing and producing visionary that’s reviving the pulse of dance music on the radio.
She’s also a star who takes a stand and uses her notoriety for good. Her efforts on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have arguably made her pop’s fiercest advocate for LGBT concerns. And her next major project is the nonprofit Born This Way Foundation, which aims to reach youth and creating a culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment. Now that’s social standing.