All week I’ll be previewing my Think Like a Rockstar session at #SMIATL on Saturday. If you would like to attend #SMIATL use code SMISPEAK to register for only $128!
One of the clear distinctions between Rockstars and companies is how they both handle involving their fans and customers in the marketing process. While most companies are scared to death of giving their customers any type of input into their promotional efforts, many Rockstars view their fans as marketing partners, and willingly embrace their efforts to help promote the artists that they love.
A good example of Rockstars embracing their fans is TheDonnasMedia.com. This fan-run site collects and archives every live appearance made by the band, in whatever form is available. Full-length concerts, television and radio appearances, even custom-made CD liners and notes. If you are a fan of The Donnas, this is your Nirvana, with literally tens of thousands of hours of audio and video content stretching back more than a decade.
I contacted The Donnas’ management a few years ago when I first learned about this site, and asked them if they were aware of this site, and what they thought of it. They absolutely loved it, and not only that, they fully-supported their fans’ efforts to make their music available, and even helped them in that endeavor. Several times, the band has made mention of the site on its own website, asking fans that have recorded copies of recent concerts to contact the admins of TheDonnasMedia.com to give them access to it so they could add it to the site’s library.
The goal, as the band put it is to sell more music by giving it away. There is one big caveat with this site: You will find no content that has been commercially released by the band. You can find a dozen or more live performances of the song ‘Fall Behind Me’, but you can’t find the version that was released commercially by the band. Because the site self-polices itself and will only post music that the band isn’t selling.
But what I love about this is how The Donnas view the fans running TheDonnasMedia.com as PARTNERS that are helping the band reach new audiences. They not only don’t feel threatened by the content that’s posted on the site, they actually help the site administrations get NEW material. All because the band and its fans have a trusting relationship in place.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at how Rockstars focus on the Bigger Idea behind their music! If you want to attend my Think Like a Rockstar session at #SMIATL, it’s Saturday morning at 10:15 AM!
I think the two most important words in this post are, “trusting relationship.” That’s what is at the heart of partnerships that genuinely work in business, and rock stars seem to inherently understand this. The more access their fans have, the more love they generate, the more the fans will want to buy from the band. It’s a beautiful, symbiotic cycle.
I say this having spent many years negotiating with billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies. I always negotiated for the long-term, knowing that our relationship was more critical than any particular term, because there would be industry changes every year that we would need to weather together.
Executives at my competitors who negotiated to “win” every point never understood this. They weren’t creating any trust. Ironically, their fear of “losing” cost them business.
When both parties in a business relationship trust each other and genuinely want the other party to “succeed” in whatever way that is defined, it opens the door for magic to happen!
@LisaPetrilli Fabulous comment as always, Lisa 😉 If you think about it, Rockstars begin at a place where they are directly connected with their fans (even if they only start out with a handful). While a CMO is hired by a large company (for example) and they begin in a place where they are COMPLETELY disconnected from their customers. They have no idea who they are, or what they want. The complete opposite of the Rockstar, so as a result it’s much easier for the Rockstar to see the value in embracing and trusting their fans, where the company never has trusted its customers in most cases, so why change now?
There are exceptions, for example, Maker’s Mark has a very successful brand ambassador program and connects with its advocates. But that’s because the founders always wanted to connect directly with their customers and appreciate them. I think it’s a real challenge for companies that are NOT in that trusting relationship with their customers, to create one.