I’ve taken a few shots at Garth Brooks in the past for the brutal mismanagement of his brand a decade ago.
Garth was the biggest music star on earth in the mid-1990′s. Until he decided that he wanted to be more than a country star. His efforts to become a pop music star alienated his country fans, confused his large pop music following, and left his career a shell of what it once was.
But I give Garth credit for one thing: he hid.
By going into retirement eight years ago, Garth made himself scarce. By becoming rare, he again became valuable. He has only played live a few select times since 2001. Those shows were major events. The few songs he has recorded and released have been successful, but he has avoided attempting to string together a run of hits. The Garth Brooks brand has been, for the most part, a nostalgia brand since he went into retirement. No doubt this is intentional.
Garth is a smart businessman. His foray into pop music aside, Garth has made some brilliant career moves. His retirement was the smartest of all. When he chose to retire, he was dealing with a divorce. He had taken lumps from his pop music venture and scrapped movie plans. He also saw the future with a stunning crop of up-and-coming country stars ready to take his place.
Garth knew that by becoming scarce, he would become more valuable.
Think about the Nintendo Wii. For three years this has been an impossible item to find at Christmas. You’d think Nintendo would just make more. But they know better. Having limited quantities makes it far more valuable.
Ditto for Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, and next year’s Christmas toy of the moment.
Limited quantities? It’s weekends only. He is only doing four shows a week, one on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday.
Demand? There aren’t a wealth of great country themed shows in glitzy Las Vegas. Especially ones with the mainstream appeal of a Garth Brooks.
Unique? Garth will be playing his own theater in an acoustic setting. He says he plans on writing new songs, sharing works-in-progress with the audience, and playing his own versions of other songs.
As long as Garth Brooks keeps himself rare enough, he should be able to keep his demand high enough to make his shows at the Wynn very valuable.
Like any successful brand, the equation applies: SCARCITY + DEMAND = VALUE
Let’s assume your brand is in demand, otherwise you wouldn’t be in business.
Brands that are everywhere have limited value. There’s no rush. There’s no exclusivity. There’s nothing special about it.
But brands that are limited in quantity have nearly unlimited value.
Seats on a plane bound for a resort destination? Scarce and in limited quantities. High value.
Tickets to a sold-out concert? Scarce and in limited quantities. High value.
Hotel rooms during a major convention? Scarce and in limited quantities. High value.
Gasoline? Only when there is a shortage does it truly become valuable.
Being available everywhere in massive quantities sounds good, but it isn’t the best path to high profits.