Tim McGraw is setting the table for change.
The country star was profiled in the Wall Street Journal last week about his changing career. The piece delves into country music’s challenges in the social networking world, and serves as an umbrella article about how country artists are using MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and other tools of modern era to expand their reach.
But the real goal of the article was to set the table for Tim McGraw to evolve.
He has recorded an album using some guest star musicians… the guitarist from Paul McCartney’s band… the keyboard player from Foo Fighters. He has hired new management, the same company that steers the career courses of Dave Matthews and Phish. His new endorsements go beyond NASCAR, and include Gilette and Outback Steakhouse. And he has recorded new music that has an edge not previously heard in his work.
As Tim was quoted as saying in the article, he is a 42 year-old married father and ”singing about country boys and girls getting down on the farm doesn’t ring true after a certain point.”
Clearly Tim McGraw sees himself growing into a more mature performer with a new sound that his fans are not used to hearing.
These steps all serve the create the perfect environment for that change.
People don’t fear change itself. Most people accept that change is inevitable.
People fear discomfort. They fear the unexpected. They fear being left behind. They resent the unanticipated.
But if you carefully set expectations for change, it becomes far less frightening.
Let your customers know your brand is evolving.
Seek their input.
Communicate with them.
Tell them why.
With smart planning and communication, the Tim McGraw brand will enjoy a very successful evolution.