Who Has Your Ear?

Photo of Freddie Mercury courtesy of

You have Michael Jackson to thank for the classic Queen song “Another One Bites The Dust”.

We’ll get to that in a second.

Advice is a funny thing.

Everybody has an opinion, but is hearing it really good for you? How do you keep your eyes on the road when you have backseat drivers shouting directions?

On one hand, I recommend that any entrepreneur equip themselves with a set of blinders, the kind horses wear in races.

You can’t afford to let the bastards bring you down and steer you off course.  Illegitimi non carborundum. 

On the other hand, you need to have mentors and advisors that you can trust, people with opinions you value more than currency itself.

None of us are as smart as all of us.

Those trusted advisors might not be the obvious choices. My inner-circle of trusted advisors includes a dentist, an oil field expert, and a stock trader.

For Queen, trusted advice came from Michael Jackson.

The band had just recorded “Another One Bites The Dust”, a song written by bass player John Deacon. He was inspired by the Chic song “Good Times” (check out the mash-up that proves it), and created a cool bass riff from his inspiration. Deacon himself played almost all of the instruments in the recording session. The band thought the strange little song was fun, but never envisioned it as a hit single.

That’s when Michael Jackson heard them play it in concert. Backstage after the show he suggested to Freddie Mercury that the band promote the song to radio stations. Jackson thought the song would be a big hit.

He was right. “Another One Bites The Dust” is Queen’s all-time best-selling single with over 7 million copies sold. It was a worldwide #1 pop hit and even hit #2 on the R&B charts. The song was nominated for a Grammy and won the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single.

Queen listened to Michael Jackson’s advice.

Who do you listen to?

The book Brand Like A Rock Star can help you learn and use the core marketing strategies of rock legends like U2, Jimmy Buffett, AC/DC, KISS, Bob Dylan, and many others. Order it today with just one click and get started making your brand rock!

Michael Jackson, Queen, Uncategorized 103 Comments

Open Their Hearts and Their Wallets Will Follow

Photo courtesy of

How do you, as Steve Jobs put it, make your customers hearts sing?

What about your business delights, surprises, engages, and enthrals? 

That’s the spirit of your brand.

Consider the career of singer Pink. She has consistently scored some of the biggest hits in music over the past decade, and there is a common spirit to her music.

“So raise your glass if you are wrong, in all the right ways.” – Raise Your Glass”

“Just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die. You gotta get up and try.” – “Try”

“You’re so mean when you talk about yourself. Change the voices in your head and make them like you instead.” – F*cking Perfect”

“I think life’s too short for this, I want back my ignorance and bliss. I think I’ve had enough of this. Blow me one last kiss.” – “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”

“I’m so glad that I never fit in. That will never be me. Outcasts and girls with ambition, that’s what I want to see.” – Stupid Girls”

Every Pink song sends a message of empowerment, independence, strength, vision, wisdom, and determination.

Pink doesn’t sing songs that reach ears. She exudes spirit that reaches hearts.

That’s how you connect with people, whether you are aiming for the Top 40 charts or moving products off a store shelf. You make their hearts sing. You give them your spirit, connecting with them emotionally and experientially, and in return they give you their business and their loyalty.

Open their hearts, and their wallets will follow.

Learn how rock legends turned their songs into billion dollar brands by reading Brand Like A Rock Star. You can order it now with one click here.

If you are in Alberta, please consider stopping by River Cree Resort & Casino next Thursday, January 30 at 6pm for the Rock Star Sip Social. I’ll be there, along with social media expert Kimberly Allison. You can purchase tickets for the event here.







Pink 1,428 Comments

Change Your View And Change Your Mind

One of the most fascinating music interviews I heard was Howard Stern interviewing Billy Joel.

Billy was talking about the songwriting process, and how sometimes – when he’s stuck for a song – he’ll write a song as if he is someone else.

For example, his 1989 song “Down Easter Alexa”, was written in the voice and perspective of famous folk singer Gordon Lightfoot. When you listen to the song now, you can absolutely hear how this could have been a Gordon Lightfoot folk song, yet it is undeniably a Billy Joel song. He wrote the song in the voice of Gordon Lightfoot.

The next time you get stuck on a problem, do what Billy Joel would do.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Look at those you admire or those you have learned from, and consider how your situation would look from their point of view. What would they do? How would they act?

It is a little bit like watching a football game. When you are on the field, you see and feel the game from an entirely different perspective than if you had seats on the 50 yard-line or if you were sitting in the nosebleeds in the end zone.

If you don’t like the view from where you sit, change seats. You can sit anywhere in the stadium, so why do you always sit in the same damn seat?

The game looks very different if you change your point of view.

Click here to instantly order the book Brand Like A Rock Star and start to see your marketing, advertising, and brand-building through the eyes of legendary rock stars like U2, Jimmy Buffett, AC/DC, The Beatles, and Bob Marley. What did they do to elevate their brands, and how can you learn to build a better business from them? Find out with one click.

If you aren’t quite sure you want to take the leap, click here to instantly download chapter one for free and get hooked.

Billy Joel, howard stern 139 Comments

Never get in the way of a good rumor!


Van Halen famously had a clause in their contract that stipulated there could be no brown M&M’s in the backstage area.

When David Lee Roth would find brown M&M’s backstage, it was rumored, he would trash the dressing room and cost the promoter dearly.

For years people assumed this clause was a symbol of the band’s excess and ego. But David Lee Roth tells a different story.

Van Halen was one of the first big rock tours to bring massive loads of equipment into aging venues, so the band included the M&M clause as a sort-of canary in a coal mine. If they found brown M&M’s backstage, it was an indication that the promoter didn’t read the contract thoroughly and the crew needed to do a full check of the stage, lighting, and gear to make sure it wouldn’t damage the arena.

But as David Lee Roth wisely says “Who am I to get in the way of a great rumor”?

David Lee Roth recognized that the legend was way better for the band’s image than the reality. Van Halen was a bad-ass rock and roll band, and it was perfectly in character with their brand to be egomaniacal and excessive. Demanding no brown M&M candies embodied that.

As actor/writer Robert Wuhl said in his fantastic Assume The Position videos, “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Yes, we love a good story.

Paul McCartney has been dead since 1966, which is why he appears barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road. (Obviously not true. Paul is alive and well.)

Ozzy allegedly bit the head off a bat. (Somewhat true. A fan threw a bat on stage at a show in 1982. Apparently stunned by the lights, the bat lay motionless. Ozzy figured that it was a rubber toy and bit into the bat’s neck. It wasn’t rubber, and the Prince of Darkness needed to be treated for rabies exposure.)

Alice Cooper apparently tore a chicken apart on stage. (He didn’t. Some fans in the front row actually did it. But when that rumor leaked, trusted advisor Frank Zappa recognized the value of the story to his brand and told him “whatever you do, don’t tell anybody you didn’t do it”.)

Meg & Jack White of the White Stripes are brother and sister. (Untrue, although the two didn’t deny it for years in order – according to Jack – to keep the focus on the music and away from their relationship.)

Recognize that perceptions are realities.

If people think something about you, it is true (to them) and their isn’t much you can do to change it.

And sometimes their perceptions are better for your brand than the reality actually is.

So when legend becomes fact, print the legend. Never get in the way of a good rumor! 

Elevate your brand to Rock Star status with the new book Brand Like A Rock Star. Order it now with one click and learn the core marketing strategies behind legendary bands like U2, AC/DC, the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, and The Sex Pistols.

Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Paul McCartney, Van Halen, White Stripes 1,337 Comments

Beatles or Stones?

To this day, as the Rolling Stones rock into their 50th year and forty-three years after The Beatles broke up, the question remains.

The Beatles or The Stones?

You can like and appreciate both bands. But for most, either The Beatles were the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in history… or The Rolling Stones were the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in history.

You’re either a Beatles person, or you’re a Stones person.

That’s what makes the Rock Star business principles so cool.

Our favorite bands become a part of how we define ourselves.

Rock Star businesses use those some strategies to make their brands part of how we define ourselves.

Are you a Mac person or a PC person?

Are you an Xbox fan or a PS3 fan or a Wii fan?

Are you a Prius driver or a Jeep driver?

Fans of these brands define themselves, in part, by them. That’s immensely powerful.

Sadly, most businesses will never get there.

They are afraid of the consequences of choosing to rock. They are afraid some people won’t like them (which is true). They are afraid that they’ll piss some people off (which is accurate). They are afraid that they might fail and get laughed at (which is highly likely).

These days you don’t have an option. You need to be a Rock Star.

If you’re not, you are destined to become one of the bland, relatively invisible, always-struggling brands that overspends on advertising in order to achieve momentary awareness.

Good luck.

I’d rather rock. It is way more fun, and way more profitable.

Put the Rock Star business principles to work for your company and your personal brand. Click here to instantly order Brand Like A Rock Star and learn how legendary bands like U2, AC/DC, KISS, Lady Gaga, Jimmy Buffett, and the Grateful Dead put their stamp on the world, and start doing the same thing with your business. 


Rolling Stones, The Beatles 2,190 Comments

Why You Need To Be A Rock Star

Last night at Coldstone Creamery, I watched someone pass up the chance to be a Rock Star.

She was the Assistant Manager, according to her name tag, and on a Sunday evening I assumed she was be the person in charge. She wasn’t actively working, she was supervising a new trainee.

My 14 year-old son ordered a “Love it” sized chocolate fudge ice cream with Oreo cookie toppings, and the new trainee went about making it with the Assistant Manager diligently watching over her shoulder.

As she placed the Oreo cookie toppings on, the Assistant Manager jumped in.

“We only put one cookie on the Love It size,” she informed the trainee. It appeared the trainee had accidentally placed an extra chunk of cookie on my son’s order.

The trainee froze, not knowing what to do.

“Take it off,” the Assistant Manager barked, and pointed at the offending Oreo cookie. “Just throw it out.”

The trainee did as she was ordered, and my son received his by-the-book Love It sized bowl of ice cream with the requisite number of Oreo cookie chunks. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t need to. When we got back in the car, it was my son who brought it up.

“I didn’t like that Assistant Manager back there,” he said. “Wouldn’t it have been better to just give me the extra cookie instead of throwing it in the trash?”

He was right.

A Rock Star could have given the customer the little bonus and spoken to the trainee about it quietly afterwords.

A Rock Star could have laughed and said “my new trainee is giving you a little extra” and simply let it go.

The thing is, the Assistant Manager did nothing wrong. She did things by the book. She followed the rules.

Rock Stars look at “the book” and “the rules” as guidelines.

Legendary guitarists play their solos slightly differently all the time, experimenting and having a blast doing it. Sometimes they give the customer more than they expected, because that’s what serving their fans is all about.

Bob Dylan plays his songs different nearly every night, because Bob Dylan makes up the rules as he goes along. His fans pay good money to see him rewrite his rule book every night.

Springsteen changes his set list to suit the city, stadium, date, or crowd. He always gives fans more than they paid for.

When you do things by-the-book, you do them the same way everyone else does. You are, therefore, totally 100% replaceable.

That’s the reality.

When you do things by-the-book, you make yourself redundant and expendable.

Rock Stars do things their own way, unlike anyone else. That’s what makes them special.

Are you going to be a Rock Star at what you do? Or are you going to play it safe, by-the-book, and pray a Rock Star doesn’t come along and take your job?

For what it’s worth, Coldstone Creamery, I’m a fan of yours. But when you offend a candy-loving 14 year-old, you’ve got a customer service problem.

Order Brand Like A Rock Star today and elevate your business, personal brand, and customer service to Rock Star levels. Learn the core strategies that made legends like AC/DC, U2, The Beatles, and the Grateful Dead famous, and how to put them to work in your business right away.

Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Coldstone Creamery 607 Comments

You Need An “EST”

The Who was billed as “the loudest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world”.

James Brown was “the hardest working man in show biz”.

In business, and in music, the brands that occupy one of the extremes of the spectrum are the ones that get noticed.

Smart brands own an “est”.

Drive down the highway, and you can’t help but notice the Smart Car (smallest) and the Hummer (largest). We see the brightest (the yellow Corvette) and the darkest (a matte black Porsche). But the dark blue Honda Civic goes by unnoticed.

Hardest. Loudest. Softest. Easiest. Hardest. Newest. Oldest. Tallest. Shortest. Hottest. Coldest. Fastest. Slowest. Priciest. Cheapest. Fattest. Thinest.

What end of the spectrum do your customers acknowledge that you own?

If you aren’t the “est” at something, there’s a good chance you are getting lost in the boring, invisible, crowded middle ground. The world is littered with quality products and companies who were afraid to stand for something and stand out for something.

Brand Like A Rock Star is a book that can help you define your brand, tell your story, and share it with the world so that your company ROCKS in 2013. It examines the core marketing strategies of rock ‘n’ roll legends and shows you how to put them into use in your business right away. You can order it now by clicking here. It is the rockin-est business book you’ll ever own.


James Brown, The Who 582 Comments

What Excites You?

Photo of Grand Cayman sunset by Steve Jones


Neil Peart of Rush writes intricate songs steeped in references to science, fantasy, literature, and history.

Jay-Z writes powerful songs about overcoming adversity, achievement, and wealth.

Jimmy Buffett writes about living on the beach, wearing clothes that match the weather, and soaking up the sun.

Each of these legendary rock stars creates songs about things that excite them.

Despite each of their immense talents, Buffett could never have written “99 Problems”, Jay-Z couldn’t have created “Bastille Day“, and Neil Peart couldn’t have duplicated “Margaritaville”. Because when you aren’t excited, it is nearly impossible to excite others.

What excites you?

When your energy is focused on things that excite you, you’ll create spectacular work.

Think of your creative energy as an investment.

If you invest it wisely, it pays off. Invest it carelessly, and it is wasted and you’ll never get that same energy back.

So I’ll ask again… What excites you?

What makes you itch?

Uncategorized 153 Comments

You Are What They Think You Are


Reality isn’t reality.

Perceptions are reality.

The only opinion of you that matters is the one held by your customers.

What you think? Doesn’t matter one bit.

What you know to be factually true about your business? Doesn’t matter at all.

The only “facts” are the perceptions your customers (and potential customers) have about you.

So when “the most dangerous band in the world” is caught by paparazzi schlepping their golf clubs through the airport, it doesn’t help their image of “nothing but hate”.

You are what they think you are.

Respect and protect that image. It’s all you’ve got.

This very clever 30 second FedEx commercial brilliantly illustrates the concept.


Uncategorized 149 Comments

Choose To Rock

I spent two weeks in the Caribbean over the holidays, listening to a lot of reggae music. My personal favorite is Bob Marley.

Bob Marley came from nothing.

He was born in total poverty in the village called Nine Mile up in the hills of Jamaica, and raised in the Trench Town district of Kingston.

In the 1970s, as Marley’s popularity soared, Trench Town became an all-out war zone sparked by divisive politics, drugs, and corruption.

Yet despite violence and poverty, Trench Town produced some of the greatest music Jamaica has ever known. Not only did Bob Marley emerge from the famous “government yards in Trench Town”, but so did many of his “Wailers”, including Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. To this day Trench Town is famous as the birthplace of rocksteady and reggae music.

Despite coming from absolutely nothing, Bob Marley became a music legend, cultural icon, and modern-day philosopher.

So many great rock stars came from poverty-striken and broken homes, includingElvis, Springsteen, Jay-Z, and Hendrix.

You don’t need power, money, political pull, job security, or corporate influence to be a rock star.

Being a rock star is a choice.

You can chose to create something truly memorable, something game changing, something meaningful… or you can chose to be average and watch the world go by.

Bob Marley chose to speak from his heart and make music that reflected his personal feelings, his religious beliefs, and his cultural heritage. He chose to change the lives of people around him in a positive and powerful way.

If you decide to sit and wait for the right time, circumstance, financial situation, and political climate to “rock”, you’ll be waiting a long, long time.

I think you should choose to rock instead.

Forget about your circumstances and forget about your excuses. Wake up and start rockin’.

With one click right here you can order Brand Like A Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll To Make Your Business Rich and Famous. It is a step by step guide to creating a powerful brand that rocks using the core marketing strategies of the bands and singers you love.

Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley, Jay-Z, Jimi Hendrix 689 Comments