After nearly 40 years, it may be the end of the road for Aerosmith.
Reports surfaced over the weekend the band is planning to meet, without lead singer Steven Tyler, to discuss their future. Tyler was injured when he fell off the stage in Sturgis, ND last summer and the band was forced to cancel their world tour. There are conflicting reports that the singer has also fallen off the sobriety wagon. Drugs and alcohol addiction nearly tore the band apart in the early 80′s.
As for Steven Tyler, he told Classic Rock Magazine that he doesn’t know exactly what he’ll be doing next, “but it’s definitely going to be something Steven Tyler, working on the brand of myself — Brand Tyler.”
My guess is that, assuming sobriety, ”Brand Tyler” has potential. He’s been the voice and face of the band for nearly four decades. He could quite possibly reinvent himself as a solo act and be successful. Lead singers have a long history of successful solo careers. It isn’t beyond comprehension to envision Steven Tyler putting together a string of movie soundtrack hits in the vein of ”Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” for years to come.
Brand “Aerosmith” on the other hand, has to be worried. Without Steven Tyler, the band would be better off calling it quits and moving on to other projects. They should be smart enough to know this, although guitarist Brad Whitford left the door open to finding a new lead singer. He noted that Steven Tyler “leaves big shoes to fill but, if somebody was willing to do it and the chemistry was right, why not?”
Why not? Because Brand Aerosmith is too valuable to damage with a new lead singer. Get a new lead singer, and became a parody of yourselves. Break up now, and leave with your dignity. And keep the door opening for a multi-million dollar reunion tour when you eventually bury the hatchet.
Brand Fleetwood Mac, without Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks? Didn’t do so well. But they just completed the above-noted multi-million dollar reunion tour with Lindsey and Stevie in top form.
Brand CCR, without John Fogerty? Not even close to the real thing.
Brand Guess Who, without Burton Cummings? A scam every time they take to the stage. These guys should be ashamed, almost as much as Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
Even the kings of the revolving lead singer routine, Van Halen, eventually learned the hard way. After Sammy Hagar successfully replaced David Lee Roth, the next two guys, Mitch Malloy and Gary Cherone, failed miserably.
The lesson: you just can’t easily change people’s perceptions. Once they’ve given you a spot in their brain, you are stuck there for better or for worse. You might as well ride it.
You can’t deny the expectations of your customers and expect them to keep buying your brand. When you stand for something – when you own a piece of their mental real estate – you either honor that or you quit. It is Ries and Trout 101.
Success comes from living up to expectations and delivering on the promises your brand makes. There is no job harder or more painful in marketing and branding than trying to change minds. In the case of Aerosmith, they would be smarter not to even try.