The Difference Between Customers and Fans: Part Two


Even as the economy slowly improves, business isn’t getting any easier. The consumer has more choices than ever, and when faced with so many choices every product starts to look the same. In that environment of confusion, they default to a buying decision on the one criteria they can easily understand… price.

That’s what customers do.

But fans are different. Fans are so engaged in your brand that the plethora of new choices doesn’t entice them, nor does the lure of saving a few bucks.

U2 fans didn’t skip the band’s 360-Tour last year and instead go see a cheaper cover band. U2 fans made the 360-Tour, conducted in a severely down economy, the most profitable concert tour in music history.

Bruce Springsteen managed to shatter numerous attendance records, including a crowd of 84,218 at Wrigley Field.

And when the Rolling Stones announce a full tour, you can bet that every show will sell out.

Yes, there are people who will skip the show because they can’t afford a $100+ ticket. But there will be 20,000 or 30,000 people in every city who will scrimp and save and somehow find the extra $100 so that they can see their favorite rock star live in concert.

Those people are fans. And your business needs more fans… and fewer customers.

Customers are shopping for the best price.

Fans are searching for the best experience.

Customers look at shopping like a sport and enjoy comparing prices and grinding people down.

Fans look at shopping like a chore and dread having to compare and grind.

Customers are looking for a salesperson so they can go home with their new bargain.

Fans prefer a friend they can trust to help them maximize their enjoyment.

Customers are loyal… until the store down the street offers a lower price. Then they’re gone.

Fans are engaged in a relationship, and their loyalty transcends a lower price down the street because they value the trust and honesty they’ve found in you.

If your business has customers, good for you. It’s a start. But watch your back. The moment your competitor has a sale, you’ll need to match him. It is a never-ending low-margin cycle. Lather, rinse, repeat. You can either settle into a life of price cutting, or you can begin to turn those customers into fans.

If your brand has fans, you’re rockin’. Give those fans everything you’ve got, like a sweaty and tired Springsteen playing a 3-hour show. Never stop pleasing and delighting your fans. Make it your personal mission to, in the words of Steve Jobs, “make their hearts sing”.

By studying the core strategies of rock stars like Bob Dylan, AC/DC, KISS, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and U2, you can learn how to build an army of dedicated fans instead of just a random collection of bargain-hungry customers. Click here to order Brand Like A Rock Star today and make it happen!


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The Difference Between Customers and Fans: Part One

I was at (yet another) Bruce Springsteen show last Friday night, when one of my friends turned to me and asked “So who is on your rock band bucket list?”

All of us have a mental list of the bands we need to see before they (or us!) are gone for good.

They are the bands that we would spend ridiculous amounts of money to see in concert.

That’s the power of the emotional pull between rock bands and their die-hard fans.

Can you think of many businesses that have that kind of powerful devotion?

Apple does. Apple fans will line up for days and spend tons of cash just to get a new iPhone. Core Star Trek fans will plan their vacations around conventions dedicated to the series. Harley owners make pilgrimages to HOG gatherings, stores, museums and restaurants around the world.

I can’t think of too many others.

The list is pretty short.

Rock Star brands inspire their customers fans.

Rock Star brands engage their customers fans.

Rock Star brands delight their customers fans.

Rock Star brands fascinate their customers fans.

Rock Star brands never let their customers fans down.

Rock Star brands don’t have “customers”. They have fans.

(In the next blog post, we will explore what makes fans different from customers.)

Are you spending all of your time, energy, and valuable advertising money chasing new customers? Or are you investing your time, energy, and valuable advertising money in building fans?

Order Brand Like A Rock Star right now and a few pages in you’ll already be on the path to turning your customers into fans. If you don’t believe me, download chapter one now for free and discover how AC/DC used 40 years of amazing consistency to survive through the rise and fall of disco, hair bands, and grunge.

PS – My rock ‘n’ roll bucket list (only among bands who are still together/alive) includes The Who, Jack Johnson, Mumford & Sons, The Police, John Mayer, and Jackson Browne.

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Your Actions Define Your Brand

When Dave Grohl refilled a fan’s empty beer, he was building his brand.

He didn’t do it for the PR.

He did it because it felt like the right thing to do. He was hosting a party (okay, a concert) and one of his friends (okay, his fans) had an empty drink. Dave just refilled it. Sure, he stopped the show and refilled the beer from the stage with 20,000 people watching. But he was just doing the right thing.

Airlines get a lot of negative press, but this week one particular airline got some very positive press for just doing the right thing.

Near the end of a 14 hour flight from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia, Air Canada pilot Andrew Robertson received a distress signal. Nearly 37,000 feet below the Boeing 777, a yacht was adrift, damaged from a storm, and fighting vicious waves. Captain Robertson brought his big jet down to 4,000 feet above the sea, and asked the 270 passengers on board to scan the ocean below for signs of life. A passenger brought a pair of binoculars up to the cockpit to help with the search. Within 25 minutes, the circling Air Canada jet spotted the yacht and alerted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to the boat’s exact location, and a boat was sent to rescue yacht captain Glenn Ey of Queensland, Australia.

When the found the yacht, the passengers on board the plane cheered and high-fived.

The plane landed in Sydney 90 minutes late, but nobody on board was complaining.

They landed 90 minutes late, and not a single complaint was heard.

In an age of social media and immediate feedback, often your actions build your brand. You can do all of the marketing you want, but your actions will always speak louder.

Do the right thing.

It is so brilliantly simple, but so tremendously difficult for some brands to do.

Purchase your own copy of Brand Like A Rock Star in Kindle or paperback and start doing the right things to build a better brand. From the smallest start-ups to the biggest Fortune 500 companies, there is plenty to learn from rock’s legends that can be immediately applied to your business.


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Defining Your Values: Aerosmith vs. KISS

Aerosmith rocks the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia


They’ve both been around since the 70s, and they certainly share plenty of the same fans. They’ve even toured together. But Aerosmith doesn’t think they belong in the same category as KISS.

Last week on a Florida radio show, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith called KISS a “comic book rock band.”  Said Tyler, “They got a couple hits but they’re more of a comic book. You see them in their spackled faces.”

“It’s theater,” added guitar player Perry.

Sometimes the best way to define yourself is to examine the core values of your competitors.

KISS is theater! No question. With make-up, pyrotechnics, and costumes, KISS has been theater since day one. They know it, and so do their fans. KISS continues to tour the world because they are theater.

Aerosmith is trying to redefine themselves to a generation of fans. They are doing so by comparing their core values to the core values of their competition.

KISS is theatrical.

Aerosmith, therefore, isn’t. They are redefining themselves as a true rock band, schooled in the blues and respected by the legends.

Home Depot became the leader among the do-it-yourself crowd. Remember “You can do it, we can help”?

Lowe’s has risen as a powerful challenger by taking a kinder, gentler approach and positioning themselves as an option to those who are less inclined to do-it-yourself.  They promised “Let’s build something together“.

Walmart became leaders in low price. “Always low prices“.

Target became successful in affordable quality. “Expect more. Pay less.

Rock Star brands understand these three key things


1. Their own values.

2. Their competitor’s values.

3. How their customers perceive their competitor.

If you understand what values your competitor stands for and how your customers perceive them, you can start to use their values to help define your brand.

Order Brand Like A Rock Star now and start making your brand rock, using the core marketing strategies of rock legends like U2, KISS, Bob Marley, The Sex Pistols, and many others.

Photo credit: Amanda Ayre

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The Stones: A Brand That Keeps On Rolling


The Rolling Stones are back. Their new song “Doom and Gloom” was released today, and the new album Grrr is coming soon.

It is great to have new Stones music to enjoy, but there is a brand risk involved for the band.

The Rolling Stones aren’t a new music brand. They are a nostalgia brand.

Although they have been together for fifty years, they made nearly all of their memorable music in their first twenty five years together.

In the second half of their career, they’ve only recorded five new albums. Hardly prolific.

The first twenty five years gave us famous songs like “Satisfaction”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Sympathy For The Devil”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Paint It Black”, “Get Off My Cloud”, “Brown Sugar”, “Start Me Up”, “Waiting On A Friend”, “Miss You”, and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.

The second twenty five years gave us forgotten songs like “Streets of Love”, “Rough Justice”, “Anybody Seen My Baby?”, “Saint Of Me”, and “Rain Fall Down”.

The last really big (in terms of music charts) new Rolling Stones song? Probably 1994′s “Love Is Strong” from the Voodoo Lounge album.

The Rolling Stones know that new music isn’t their brand.

They didn’t record “Doom and Gloom” in order to add to their massive catalog of great music. “Doom and Gloom” and the new album Grrr exist in order to heighten awareness about the band and raise excitement heading into their soon-to-be-announced world tour. The new music serves as a social talking point, a social object as Hugh McLeod would say, that will help sell concert tickets.

The song will help promote the new documentary Crossfire Hurricane that comes out this month. It looks very cool.

When their tour begins, don’t go expecting to hear many songs from the new album. Don’t expect to hear much music from the past 25 years. The Stones will play the hits, giving you exactly what you came for.

In day to day business, there are a few immediately applicable business lessons.

1. Know what your brand stands for in the minds of your fans. You are what they think you are.

2. Create social objects to get people talking about your brand. You can’t be remarkable without giving your customers something to remark on.

3. Deliver to your fans exactly what they expect from you. There’s a reason they love you. Live up to it.

Here’s an earlier piece I wrote on how business can learn from the Rolling Stones. And while you’re at it, click here to quickly order Brand Like A Rock Star and start learning how to build a better brand and more profitable business from the legends of rock. According to rock stars like Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper, it is worth picking up.

Here’s the new Rolling Stones song “Doom and Gloom”. I think it is pretty damn good. What do you think?

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Accidental Magic: Three Keys To Rock Star Creativity

The normally shy and reserved guitar player came alive when he hit the stage, playing his instrument with incredible passion. His band was still young, playing in small clubs to small crowds, but he played as if the world was watching.

Near the end of one of their concerts, he lifted the instrument high above his head in triumph.

And put the neck of the guitar right through the ceiling.

Pulling it out, he discovered that not only had he broken a hole in the ceiling, but also the neck of the guitar. Captivated by the energy of the moment, and knowing his expensive guitar was already wrecked, he threw the guitar down on stage over and over again, shattering it into pieces.

The crowd went wild. And entirely by accident, Pete Townshend found the thing he would become famous for as the guitar player for The Who.

So many great songs, scientific discoveries, human advancements, and fantastic achievements happened entirely by accident.

Yet in business, we strive for perfection and we chastise mistakes.

We are so busy working that we seldom take time to mess around and no nothing.

Very seldom do you take a leap forward while you are stuck inside your box.

But when you are free to screw up, experiment, and just try stuff… magic happens.

Three Keys To Rock Star Creativity

1. Free yourself to fail. Never criticize anyone (including yourself) when mistakes are made with good intentions. Only malicious mistakes deserve criticism. Everything else is to be praised.

2. Set aside time to do unproductive things. The work will be there when you’re done goofing off.

3. Force yourself out of your box. By going on stage, Pete Townshend was forced to leave his shy and reserved box behind and stand outside of his comfort zone. Always live your life one step outside of your comfort zone.

The marketing book Brand Like A Rock Star is one click away in paperback or Kindle download. Click here to order it today and start to make your marketing rock right away.

Pete Townshend’s new book Who I Am comes out today. It is his personal story and includes very intimate glimpses into life as one of the biggest rock stars on the planet. What was his strangest acid trip? What male rock star did he want to have sex with? Order Who I Am by Pete Townshend to find out.


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The Power of Being Unpopular

Order your copy of Brand Like A Rock Star for Kindle or in paperback right now, and start building a better brand by using the core marketing strategies of rock music legends.

Years ago, you could have a #1 hit and nearly everyone in the world would know it. Having a #1 hit on the famous Billboard Hot 100 chart was the pinnacle of popular music.

These days, the world is much more fragmented. The #1 song on Billboard’s rock chart is “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. The #1 song on Billboard’s digital download chart is Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Meanwhile, “Adorn” by Miguel tops the Billboard hip-hop chart. And the most watched music video on YouTube is Psy’s “Gangnam Style”.

The internet has fragmented business in the same way.

The internet allows you to create your own chart, and have your own #1 hit.

Through social media, you can discover groups of people who are passionate fans of your unique brand, and serve them very successfully and very profitably, without ever having your product stocked in Walmart.

Smart brands exploit this new world order.

Find people who love what you do, and market to them. Serve them. They are your tribe, and nobody else needs to matter to you. If you grow the tribe organically, you can continue to do what you do so well and never have to compromise what you do in order to reach the unreachable masses.

Forget about topping your field’s Hot 100 chart. Trying to win there is too expensive. It is too competitive. Instead, create your own chart and own it!

Every day that goes by, the mainstream matters less and less.

For more on the concept of being unpopular to the masses, read Erika Napoletano’s book The Power of Unpopular.

Make your marketing rock. Click here to download the presentation “15 Ways To Make Your Marketing Rock In 15 Minutes”.


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