The Power Of Creating Something Amazing For the People That Love You

by Mack Collier

One of the things that rock stars do amazingly well is they create something amazing for the people that love them.  They find ways to bring their biggest fans together and create a uniquely amazing experience that’s totally unexpected.  The end result is that their fans are shocked, amazed, and love that rock star even more.

We saw that last night during the American Music Awards.  Psy was slated to close the show performing his internet sensation Gangham Style.  But halfway through, something unexpected happened…

Now I have to admit, I was a huge MC Hammer fan in the early 90s.  Down to even buying every VHS tape of his music videos and studying them to perform dance moves in clubs.  Sigh…

But Hammer joining Psy isn’t why I love this performance.  Watch it the first time just to appreciate it, then watch it again and pay close attention to the audience.

Notice that the audience is having an absolute blast as Psy is singing.  It’s a party, but notice what happens when Psy says STOP…Hammertime!  You can immediately hear the audience go NOOOOOO!!!!!! because they know what’s about to happen.  Then when 2 Legit 2 Quit starts playing and they see Hammer is on stage, the audience goes apeshit!

Psy and Hammer just created an amazing experience for their fans that they weren’t expecting.  The sheer joy on the faces of the members of the audience is infectious, isn’t it?  A big reason why I wanted to write Think Like A Rock Star was to help companies understand how to create a relationship  where they delight and amaze their biggest fans in this same way.

Because there’s nothing more powerful than giving your fans something amazing that they weren’t expecting.  How is your brand delighting and amazing its biggest fans?

Tom Martin November 20, 2012 at 8:37 am


Couldn’t agree more — the world is about experiences — even with packaged goods. If brands can find ways to bake in real, cool, experiences to their products, they give themselves a huge advantage.

Which begs the question… why don’t more brands do it? Is it because they see the consumer as a transaction where rock stars see the consumer as a relationship to nurture and extend over time?

Mack Collier November 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

Tom, the answer to your question is ‘Yes’. Most brands are out to ‘acquire’ new customers via marketing and promotions, whereas most rock stars are out to connect with and delight their existing fans with amazing experiences.

With the understanding that by doing so, they will encourage their existing fans to acquire new customers for them. The end result is that both brands and rock stars are wanting to expand their customer base, they are just going about it in entirely different ways.

Here’s a followup question: Which method do you think is cheaper and more effective?

1 – Brands spending billions on marketing to reach new customers

2 – Rock stars connecting with their biggest fans so those fans will then go out and drive sales among their friends and connections.

Which is more likely to win your business: Advertising, or a referral from a trusted friend?

Rock stars answered that question decades ago, most brands are still not there.

Tom Martin November 20, 2012 at 10:34 am


A question for your question — do the two need to be mutually exclusive?

As I noted in this post.. the last step in creating ANY marketing strategy is based on driving post experience/purchase behavior. Advertising shouldn’t just drive sales it should drive referral too IMO.

Surprisingly though – in over 20 years in the ad business, I’ve NEVER seen that section in any marketing plan. Brands don’t think about how their advertising, events, etc should not just effect their target’s feelings about the brand but just as important, it should effect how their target feels about telling friends and family about the brand.

So to answer you question – I think smart brands can have both. It’s hard, but doable.

Mack Collier November 21, 2012 at 9:12 am

Tom I agree. I think too many brands are hoping to get that FIRST purchase from a customer, because then they believe they ‘have’ them as a customer. But the problem is even IF I buy from your brand that first time, my loyalty to your brand is still very low. So there’s still a high chance of me buying from another brand.

I think the mentality is that if the brand can get me to buy from them that first time, that they’ve ‘won’ me over as a customer. That’s simply not the case, and I think as you said the smart brands are the ones that focus not just on getting my first sale, but also work to validate FUTURE sales and give me a reason to continue to purchase from the brand.

It’s definitely doable for brands to both acquire new customers and to continue to delight existing ones and fans. But for many brands, I think it requires a shift in marketing mentality from where they are now.

Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case November 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm

What a perfect illustration for Think Like a Rock star: Rock stars! You nailed it: Give ’em what they want and they’ll go ape.

Eric Butts November 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

You hit the nail on the head with the description of the crowd experience. I watched that video before seeing this post and I knew MC Hammer was in it, and it still gave me chills. I’m actually going through asking myself the question about how we, as a firm, are doing what we can to delight our customer. I’ll share the example that comes to mind.

The challenge that I see on a daily basis is that ideas too far into the unexpected are written off as “that’s not how we do things” when in reality it translates to that’s now how we do things *now* despite those being the ideas that will elevate their customer experience. My sense is that many brands are looking for quick wins and are not willing (initially) to invest the time it takes to undergo a real transformation, whether that be in the social space or elsewhere. As such, many consultants may shy way from those types of problems but I’ve seen over and over again that if you put in time working with your customers and do it at the right pace, you will get to the desired outcome.

You’ll know you’re doing things right when, like I had happen 2 weeks ago, a client thanks you for challenging them to think differently.

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