Madonna turned 60 last week.
Always dividing opinions, one thing almost every commentator could agree on, is how Madonna has defied expectations of what age means and has instead focused on what stage she felt her life was at….artiste, wife, mother, sexual warrior, advocate of LGBT rights, artiste, wife mother, advocate for equality etc etc.
The point being Madonna hasn’t ever let age define her and this is also the focus of an incredibly revealing book, The 100 Year Life by Professor Lynda Gratton and Professor Andrew Scott, which talks about the impact that living to the age of 100 will have on us from a social, political and economic point of view.
Increasingly and most importantly for marketers and communicators, age will not be an indication of our aspirations, inspirations and motivations as has previously been the case, but rather our life stage will be our primary source of relevance.
This doesn’t just mean that we will need to design products and campaigns for an older population – although that will be part of the shift, but also that the three-stage approach of a life of education, work then retirement, will soon be at best misleading and at worst, irrelevant.
Brands will have to adapt to this multi stage life, where a 55 year old could as likely be in full time education as a 18 year old and where a new recruit could be a 40 year old and not a 21 year old.
If she’s not being called the queen of pop, Madonna is known as the mistress of reinvention, constantly analysing what is meaningful and how she can best connect with her audience – a big lesson for brands too.
Happy Birthday Madonna.