Brilliantly Rebuilding Bieber



Just over a year ago, it looked like his career was over almost as fast as it began.

In 2014 alone, the teen star was accused and/or charged with driving under the influence, possession of drugs, vandalism, dangerous driving, assault, and resisting arrest.

His songs, once guaranteed chart toppers, were met with relative indifference from everyone aside from his hard core fans.

After a five year rocket to fame, Justin Bieber was crashing to earth.

Today, his new song “What Do You Mean?” is the most played song at American Top 40 radio. In fact, it the de facto #1 song in the world, topping the Spotify Global Top 50 chart. And as much as many elitist music snobs would hate to admit it, “What Do You Mean?” is a finely crafted piece of pop music that deserves the status it has achieved.

How did Justin Bieber save his career?

It was a simple five-step process, no doubt engineered by his manager Scooter Braun.

1. He went away. For many months, we saw very little of Bieber. He wasn’t on TMZ and Perez Hilton wasn’t talking about him. After years of over-exposure, we got a well-deserved break from Bieber.

2. He grew up. When he did emerge, he did it in the most mature of ways. He subjected himself to relentless mocking as the subject of Comedy Central’s Roast of Justin Bieber. The roast was hilarious, and Bieber took it like a man.

3. He took responsibility. At the end of the roast, and many times since, he has publicly stated his regrets at his childish past and acknowledged that so much money and fame can have a detrimental impact on a teenage kid’s behavior.

4. He quietly came back with some credible friends. Bieber’s musical return wasn’t on his own song, but rather doing vocals on the song “Where Are U Now” by Jack U, a duo featuring DJ’s Skrillex and Diplo. Under the cloak of their credibility, Justin Bieber quietly reappeared.

5. He created something amazing. The song “What Do You Mean?” is a perfect pop song for 2015. It combines the tropical feel of OMI’s hit “Cheerleader” with light EDM production and an irresistible hook. You can hate Justin Bieber, but if you like pop music in 2015, you can’t hate “What Do You Mean?”.

Even his recent most controversy (those naked pictures taken in Bora Bora) were deftly handled by Bieber and his team. His privacy was grossly violated, yet he handled it very well. And having your goods exposed to the world is very adult problem to deal with!

The brilliant rebuilding of Bieber’s career is a great template for brands and businesses. When you need to rebuild a brand, you can use the same five step process.

1. Go off the radar for a while.

2. Regroup/evolve/grow up.

3. Publicly account for your past and declare your future.

4. Reappear alongside credible friends.

5. Give your fans something amazing.


Think of great brand comebacks… 

Apple, from the return of Steve Jobs in 1997 to today.

General Motors, from their government bailout and bankruptcy to today.

Old Spice, from their days as Grandpa’s cologne to “the man your man could smell like”.

All of them required the brand to disappear, regroup, publicly come out, gain credibility slowly, and then give us their very best.

Almost every time, rebuilding the brand requires the same process… whether it is a punk-ass teen idol or an after-shave that your Grandfather used to use.

 You can rebuild your career – or your brand – like a rock star. Read Start You Up: Rock Star Secrets To Unleash Your Personal Brand and Set Your Career on Fire by Steve Jones. You’ll discover the 5 P’s of Personal Branding and learn the strategies that stars like U2, Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, and many others used to build (and rebuild) their careers. You can order it now with one-click for Kindle or in paperback.

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Three Business Lessons From A Number One Hit Song


I’m really happy for young Carly Rae Jepsen. The nice kid from Canada (Mission, British Columbia to be specific) now has the #2 song on the legendary Billboard “Hot 100″ chart with “Call Me Maybe“. And on the digital download chart, the song is already #1.

The story behind her success is pretty cool, and embedded within the story are several powerful business lessons.

“Call Me Maybe” might be a light, catchy pop song, but it actually began it’s life as a folk song. Her producer felt that one particular lyric from the original folk song could be the anchor for a new song altogether, so they started from scratch and built a new song around the single line “call me maybe”.

Lesson #1: Your next great idea might come from an unexpected place. Plenty of great things came out of other ideas, like Viagra, the microwave oven, and Post-It Notes. Oh, and penecillin… which probaby trumps Viagra. Never throw away an idea.

The song came out last year in Canada, and became a hit on the Canadian pop charts. But despite the song’s success in her home country, it went pretty much unnoticed everywhere else in the world. “Call Me Maybe” was destined to be a nice regional hit for Carly Rae… until fellow Canadian Justin Bieber came home for the holidays and heard it on the radio. Biebs was so impressed with the song that he tweeted about the song, and made sure that Jepsen was signed to his record label. Within a few weeks, Carly Rae went from local success story to massive worldwide superstar.

Lesson #2: Who can help you catapult your great idea into the stratosphere? Network, connect, and interact. The next person who hears about you could be the person who makes magic happen. But magic will never happen in a vacuum. Almost every business success story includes a mentor or a heartfelt “hand up” along the way.

So with her debut song peaking at #1 in numerous countries around the world, what comes next for Carly Rae Jepsen? Can she possibly repeat the runaway success of “Call Me Maybe”?

Lesson #3: Once you’ve established expectations, the pressure is on to live up to them. If your customers expect something – and you don’t supply it – the consequences can be fatal to your business. The moment Chipotle is no longer “food with integrity” is the moment the brand dies.

For a deeper look at how the lessons of rock ‘n’ roll can be applied to business, order Brand Like A Rock Star now for immediate digital download or home delivery of the paper edition.

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Newton’s Laws and Branding


The laws of physics and the laws of branding collide when it comes to love and hate.

Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Brand Like a Rock Star’s Eighth Chapter: For every person that loves your brand, there is someone else who hates it.  Don’t fight it. Don’t worry about it.

In other words, love and hate go together. As a brand, you can’t have one without the other.

Justin Bieber is loved and hated, but nearly everyone knows who he is.

UFC is one of the most-hated brands in North America. It is also the fastest-growing sport in the continent. It is both hated and loved, but impossible to ignore.

Red Bull has been banned in several countries, yet it is the #1 energy drink on earth. Hated and loved, but never ignored.

When you find people who hate your brand, don’t take it personally. Take it as a compliment. People who hate you have heard about you, understood what you stand for, and made a decision that you aren’t for them.

The time to worry isn’t when people hate you. The time to worry is when nobody notices you.

As Chapter Eight of Brand Like a Rock Star details, the opposite of love isn’t hate.

 It is indifference.

Don’t be indifferent. Pre-order the book here.

If you still aren’t convinced, download Chapter One for free so you know what you are getting into first.


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Living Up To Brand Expectations


Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress this week, two weeks after his sexting scandal broke.

Until the scandal emerged, Weiner had a reputation as a passionate and hard-driving member of Congress. He was known for his powerful stance on health care and other social issues, as well as anti-terrorism steps. After voting to support the war in Iraq, Weiner gained a reputation for honesty when he later admitted that it was a mistake.

A few years earlier, President Bill Clinton was treated to oral sex in the Oval Office nine times from a 22 year-old intern and held on to the highest approval ratings of any president since World War II.

How can one person be brought down by sending inappropriate photos of himself, and another survive a sex scandal unlike any the political world had ever seen?

I think it has a lot to do with expectations.

Maybe we sort of expected that kind of behavior from notorious womanizer Bill Clinton. As wild as the allegations against him were, we weren’t all that surprised.  Weiner, on the other hand, was a newlywed with friends like Jon Stewart and a reputation for taking a strong stand on what is right and wrong. Maybe we expected more?

For example, Willie Nelson has been repeatedly arrested for marijuana possession. Nobody notices. If that happened to Taylor Swift, it could be a serious problem for her career.

Ozzy Osbourne bites the head off a bat, and it only enhances his reptuation. If Justin Beiber does it, the effect won’t be quite the same.

KFC can introduce the Double Down sandwich, and business goes up. If Chipotle creates a sandwich like that, they lose customers instantly.

When people expect something from your brand, you’d better live up to it.

Because when expectations aren’t met, bad things happen. Customers leave. Congressmen resign.

Do you really know what your customers expect from you?

Do you have the balls to live up to those expectations?

And the tougher question…

Do you have the balls to say no to opportunities that are temptingly profitable in the short term but damaging to your brand in the long-term?

Please join in the discussion on the Brand Like a Rock Star page on Facebook.

And the book Brand Like a Rock Star is waiting for your pre-order now.

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The Opposite of Love

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Today a Justin Bieber song came on the radio, and before I could even identify it both of my kids had told me how much they hate him.


I’m not sure if they hate his music or if they hate the fact that girls go crazy over him or if they just hate his image, but they express a serious dislike for Justin Bieber. That feeling seems to be shared amongst a lot of 15 year old boys.

Yet Justin Bieber draws fanatical crowds everywhere he goes. He ignites full on hysteria. There is no star quite like him on earth right now.

Nickelback. Another act everyone loves to hate. Try find a guy to admit he’s a Nickelback fan. It ain’t easy. Yet their concerts sell out, thier albums sell millions, and their music is everywhere.

It makes you wonder how Nickelback and Justin Bieber can be SO popular when it seems everyone hates them.

The secret is that they inspire emotions.

The opposite of love isn’t hate. It is indifference.

My kids aren’t indifferent about Bieber. They know who he his, his back story, and his music.

Any brand that stirs up attention is bound to have detractors. Perfect. If certain people hate you because of what you stand for, you’ve done your job. They are aware of you. They understand your brand. As long as you have an equal (or greater) number of people who love you, you’ll be fine.

On the other hand, if the world expresses a general indifference about your brand, you’re dead. If people don’t care, it means they don’t really get it and you haven’t inspired passion or emotion on any level.

And even though Bieber and Nickelback are Canadian, I don’t think that has anything to do with the hatred. You can’t hate Canadians… we’re too damn polite.

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