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Applauding keynote speakers

ICYMI: Key Takeaways From Our 2018 Super Forum Keynote Speakers

What’s the connection between customer loyalty and Lady Gaga? Why are many Generation Z-ers best friends with their parents and how can we apply this knowledge at work? Learn more.

What’s the connection between customer loyalty and Lady Gaga? Why are many Generation Z-ers best friends with their parents? Are you a “One-Percenter” (aka SUPER fan) for anything? Do you try to understand generational differences or tend to look down on them?

These are just a few of the fascinating questions we walked through with keynote speakers Jackie Huba and Kim Lear at Super Forum this week. Both women, experts in their fields – Jackie in customer loyalty, and Kim in workplace trends – shared insights we can apply to our workplace, in our families, and with our members and customers.

We wanted to recap both speeches, for those of you who couldn’t make it or missed the live stream, and for those of us who were there and don’t want to forget a minute from the keynotes!

Keynote #1: Jackie Huba, Loyalty Lessons From Lady Gaga

Jackie Huba wrote the book, Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics, about the application of Lady Gaga’s approach to creating loyal fans and how we can create customer loyalty via these lessons.

In case you’re not familiar, Lady Gaga calls her fans “Little Monsters” (she is “Mother Monster.”) She created a dedicated, online community before it was common for celebrities to create these spaces.

Her fans are adoring, and they love her for her talent, her empathy, and the way she reaches out to them as individuals. No matter how you feel about Lady Gaga, her methods are good examples for us to learn from as we work to create member and customer loyalty.

Jackie challenged us to consider whether our definitions of customer loyalty aim high enough.

Customer satisfaction, customer retention, customer referrals – those things may be attributes of a loyal customer base. But customers who have an “ownership” mentality are at the highest level of customer loyalty, and that’s what you want to achieve.

So, what can we learn from Lady Gaga’s approach?

1. Lead with values.

Many of Lady Gaga’s biggest fans are from divergent or marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ community. She supported and advocated for them as she rose to fame, and has continued to be a proponent of the values that she and many of her fans care about.

Jackie’s key takeaway: “Live your values as an organization. It isn’t enough to just put it on your about page on your website.”

2. Show your values.

Jackie calls your super fans your “One-Percenters.” They’re the crazy fans who will do anything for you. Your super fans are out there, but you need to find them. One of the best ways to do this is to create community. (For example: Lady Gaga’s Little Monster community, now an app, or the Mini Cooper community.)

Also, fun fact – Jackie identifies as a One-Percenter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so she created a community for fanatics like her…who also live in Austin, Texas. A bold move in the home state of “America’s Team,” but she found her people!

Jackie’s key takeaway: “Keep giving your One-Percenters things to talk about. You can’t be average, nobody talks about average. You have to be remarkable, and you have to do things people will remark upon.” 


3. Build community.

Creating emotional connections with your One-Percenters starts with passion for whatever it is they love, but it needs to extend past that. You need to keep giving your customers or members something to talk about in order to continue building community. Lady Gaga’s meat dress was the perfect example – it represented her values and gave her fans something to talk about.

Jackie’s key takeaway: “I hope you’ll be bold in what you do with your organizations, be brave in connecting with your customers, and create experiences that they’ll want to talk about.”

Keynote #2: Kim Lear, Preparing for the Future: Building Relationships Across Generational Lines

Baby Boomers, when you hear your Millennial members talk about the importance of work-life balance, do you roll your eyes? Millennial employees, do you wonder why your Gen X employer feels distant?

The secret to understanding these reactions and feelings lies in generational differences. Kim Lear, our second keynote speaker, shared that “generational hazing” is something that has been around for centuries.

Kim’s key takeaway: “Generational hazing has always been a part of our cultural narrative. We need to unite generations to focus on moving forward together.” 


Often, people perceive generational differences negatively, disliking attributes that aren’t their own, and scoffing at the characteristics of other generations (most commonly, the work ethic of generations that came after their own).

Of course, there are good and bad occurrences in every generation – but instead of focusing on the negative, Kim urged us to try to understand and appreciate the perspective of other generations.

This approach makes us better, more effective communicators. Take the following scenarios as examples:

  • Communicating among inter-generational gaps at he workplace
  • Crafting targeted messaging for our customers
  • Conversing with our families at the Thanksgiving table
  • Posting in our online communities
  • Discussing organizational change with our board

Kim’s Key Takeaway: “Every generation brings something new and interesting into the workplace: it’s up to leaders to understand how to leverage those.”

Where Do Generational Traits Come From? A Recap of Differing Characteristics Among Each

Our teenage years are formative, and the major events that happen in our teenage years often define the generation.

1. Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers remember when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. It was a feeling of national pride. This event and others like them tended to produce generational values like optimism and idealism.

Kim’s key takeaway: Now, as Baby Boomers are aging, messaging has changed as marketers adapt from the values of Traditionalists, to express new values like being young at heart, and idealism.

2. Generation X

Characteristics of Generation X include fierce independence, skepticism, and entrepreneurialism. Their formative national memories? MTV, the Challenger, CNN, and so on.

Kim’s key takeaway: Successful communication with Gen X-ers tends to do better when there’s a partnership mentality versus when the message comes from a top-down authority figure.

3. Millennials

Millennials get a bad rap, but Kim encouraged us to try to see Millennials with a more generous frame of mind – their traits include collaborative, empowered, networked, in search of meaning, risk-averse. Millennials can name things like Napster, Columbine, 9/11, and social media as formative events/software.

Kim’s key takeaway: In Kim’s words, “It was during our formative years that the internet went social. It changed how we buy and sell, how we date, and so on. It gave an ROI to word-of-mouth.” Don’t underestimate the power influencers can have on purchase behavior in this era.

4. Generation Z

Generation Z is a generation just now entering the workforce. They’re described as resourceful, competitive, craving stability, and diverse. And, in case you were curious, 58 percent of Gen Z-ers say they’re best friends with their parents. Why? They and their parents share many cultural touch-points, as opposed to the distance between other generations.

Kim’s key takeaway: For this generation, instead of wanting to work in tree-houses on whiteboards (we loved this analogy), we may see the importance of 401k matching, benefits, an employer’s track record become more important.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

Elizabeth Bell

Elizabeth Bell is the Content Marketing Manager at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.