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Madonna’s Sustainable Success Case Study


Madonna is not only a world-renowned celebrity and a talented artist. In terms of business, revenue and success sustainability she is an enterprise. Madonna is a brand, whose image has been developed over decades and adjusted to the business environments of each particular period. In this paper, Madonna is studied from her success sustainability and competitive advantage which allowed this artist to stay relevant and incredibly popular through the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Madonna Sustaining Success in a Fast-Moving Business

Madonna Louise Ciccone is a well-known pop artist who became an icon and a role model for several generations of people all around the world. Her impact on the world of music is impossible to underestimate. Today, Madonna is famous as the world’s top-selling female artist, and the bestselling female artist of the 20th century who managed to sell 300 million records (Grant, 2013). Madonna’s success and its sustainability as long as her competitive strategy are the subjects of research of several professionals from the point of view of business development. In the world of business, Madonna is recognized as an enterprise with a very strong brand image that has been able to maintain her success and outperform her competitors through self-promotion, innovation and excellent knowledge of her target audiences.

Synopsis of the Case

Having sold 64 million certified albums, Madonna is ranked second in Billboard’s list of Hot 100 All-Time Artists (Grant, 2013). Madonna is recognized as one of the most influential pop music performers who have started the trends maintained by the younger celebrities of the modern days such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Lady Gaga (Granderson, 2012). Madonna was also named “one of the 25 most powerful women of the past century” (Grant, 2013). Practically, this artist managed to outlast and outperform the singers who began their careers along with her. She successfully outranked the other powerful pop icons of the time such as Prince, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. Moreover, Madonna did not only carry on her success but shifted, transformed and multiplied it spreading her business from music, to film and fashion industries. Financially, Madonna’s success is estimated in tens of millions of dollars annually, for example, she earned 40 million dollars in 2008 and 110 million in 2009 (Grant, 2013).

Managing Competitive Advantage in a Fast-Growing Industry

The music industry has been one of the most flexible, unstable and rapidly developing industries of the world. This is why the majority of highly popular artists quickly becomes forgotten and are replaced with new and more fashionable idols. Staying relevant, popular and loved in this industry for decades is an admirable ability that indicates an artist’s incredible flexibility and responsiveness to the rapidly changing surroundings. Madonna’s sustainable success and competitive strategy are studied for business as a potential answer to the question “what does it take to survive and stay on top in a highly changeable business environment?” Closer examination of Madonna’s path as an enterprise shows that the artist’s success is composed of a very well-thought-through image and excellent knowledge of her target audiences. Both of these determinants were changed several times throughout Madonna’s career as a performer.

Explanation of Relevant Concepts, Theories, and Applications Derived from Course Materials

Competitive advantage is a consequence of change (Grant, 2013). Change is a frequent happening in the music industry. In order to be able to stay on top and go along with the change, one is to identify the most promising trends and adopt them. Throughout the decades of her career, the artist has embraced a variety of images which were the key to her self-promotion to the target audience. First of all, at the beginning of her career, the artist targeted young “wannabe” females (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2009). In the middle of the 1980s Madonna’s first transformation took place, the singer employed her controversial image of an independent female, yet, to remain marketable as a brand, Madonna’s appearance resembled that of Marilyn Monroe. The following self-promotion of Madonna was focused on the marketability of sex and sexuality. Further, Madonna’s appearance became more politicized and included images of a cowgirl, cool Britannia, and Che Guevara engaging fans from the outside of the USA (Johnson et al., 2009). Eventually, Madonna embraced her gay-icon role and emphasized her popularity among the gay community.


To stay on top of a fast-moving industry, a business is to embrace change and go along with it researching the most promising trends and studying the needs of a target group of customers. Madonna’s versatility of style and image is the key to her ever-lasting popularity. Besides, apart from temporary trends such as music genre and clothing, Madonna employed the promotion strategies that never grow old using sex and political subjects to gain popularity.

Alternative Recommendations

The sustainability of Madonna’s success is threatened by her age since staying relevant is getting harder as the singer runs out of rends she is still able to embrace. The singer is growing out of her pop icon image. To avoid the loss of popularity, an enterprise might shift from an industry with limited growth potential to a new field (Johnson et al., 2009). For example, the artist could prefer the movie industry to music.


Madonna’s sustainable success in a fast-moving industry is based on her active self-promotion facilitated by frequent change of image and exploration of temporarily and constantly relevant themes. An important aspect of the artist’s success comes from her excellent knowledge of the needs of her target audiences throughout the years.

Reference List

Granderson, L.Z. (2012). . Web.

Grant, R. (2013). Contemporary Strategy Analysis Text and Cases (8th ed.). New York, NY: Wiley Publishing.

Johnson, G., Scholes, K., & Whittington, R. (2009). Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text & Cases. New York, NY: Pearson Education.

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 10). Madonna's Sustainable Success. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/madonnas-sustainable-success/

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"Madonna's Sustainable Success." IvyPanda, 10 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/madonnas-sustainable-success/.

1. IvyPanda. "Madonna's Sustainable Success." July 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/madonnas-sustainable-success/.


IvyPanda. "Madonna's Sustainable Success." July 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/madonnas-sustainable-success/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Madonna's Sustainable Success." July 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/madonnas-sustainable-success/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Madonna's Sustainable Success'. 10 July.

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