I joked with a friend that seeing Trooper in concert is like a requirement for Canadian citizenship. You shouldn’t be allowed to call yourself Canadian if you haven’t seen Trooper at least once.
From a branding point of view, you really have to admire these guys.
Trooper had a string of hits in Canada (and some US success) from the mid-70′s through the mid-80′s. Yet they work their asses off to this day like a young band on the rise. They are playing 30+ shows this summer in towns and cities all across Canada. They are playing some of the smallest venues and some pretty big festivals. They always give it everything they’ve got and nobody goes home unhappy.
But there is something more that impresses me about Trooper and in particular, lead singer Ra McGuire.
Basically, Ra is pointing out that it is deceiving for bands like Creedence Clearwater Revisited and The Sweet to go out on tour with only remnants of their original line up intact. And in both cases, without the lead singers.
The new incarnation of CCR doesn’t include John Fogerty, who was the man behind both microphone and pen for the band. It does include Doug Clifford (drums) and Stu Cook (bass guitar) from the original band.
Sweet continues to tour as “Sweet” despite their revolving door of singers (and others). You can digest the endless array of band members on Wikipedia. I don’t have the time or space to do it.
This blog is about the area where BRANDS meet BANDS.
In the case of Trooper, the brand and the band are pefectly matched. Fans have an expectation, and the band delivers. Like other bands I’ve blogged about (AC/DC, U2, Springsteen, Britney Spears), they always live up to – and exceed – the expectations of their customers.
But for fans of CCR and Sweet, is there any hope of going home happy? It seems so deceptive to promote something that isn’t. There must be thousands of fans going home going “Where was John Fogerty?”
The band doesn’t live up to the brand.
The lesson for brands is simple and clear: know the expectations of your customers, and live up to them at every opportunity. Never deceive them. Never mislead them. If you do, you won’t have them for long.
And if you’re into reading some cool stories from the road, check out Ra’s blog and book.
Here’s a taste of Trooper from their hit-making heyday… 1979.