Who Do You Need To Fire?


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Pete Best was not just their drummer… he was their friend, their “mate”. The band had played some of their first gigs in the coffee shop his mother ran. He had been there through the tough “eight days a week” bookings in Hamburg. He had played The Cavern in Liverpool. Pete Best was a key member of The Beatles.

But when it came time to take the leap from bar band to world stage, The Beatles decided that Pete Best wasn’t good enough, and Ringo Starr was. They made the tough decision to fire their friend.

What is holding you back?

What people, ideas, notions, and beliefs shackle you from success? Fire them.

And equally relevant, hire the people, ideas, notions, and beliefs that you need to excel.

Rock Stars find the right people to jam with, and then figure everything else out from there.

Rock Stars surround themselves with great players, often players far more talented then themselves.

Rock Star surround themselves with people who ignite their creativity and spark their energy.

Who is in your band?

Not just people. Your “band” is your world… the people, ideas, and concepts that form your boundaries.

Who needs to leave your band in order for you to succeed?

Like The Beatles, you must take decisive action.

Break ties with those who are holding you back. Surround yourself with people that make you better at what you do.


The marketing book Brand Like a Rock Star: Lessons From Rock n Roll To Make Your Business Rich & Famous can help you build a stronger business by taking the core strategies of bands like The Beatles (and many others) and showing you how to put them to work for you right away.  Order now with one click and have the digital download or paperback sent directly to you!

Pete Best, The Beatles, Uncategorized 199 Comments

Who Cares Who Was First?

I heard an ad on the radio this week for a car rental company that claimed “we invented picking you up“.

That’s fine.

But there is a car rental place that owns the image “we’ll pick you up“.


It doesn’t matter who was first. All that matters is who owns the image in the mind of the consumer.

Apple didn’t make the first tablet computer.

Jeep didn’t make the first SUV.

Marconi didn’t send the first radio transmission.

Seldom does the pioneer in any field get the credit they deserve. Such is life.

If a band came out today singing folky harmonies with a banjo, mandolin, and accordion, they would be a Mumford & Sons copycat. Even if they were doing it before Mumford even had sons.

Same with make-up. KISS clone, even if they were rockin’ before KISS came along. Acoustic guitar and nasal voice? Dylan wannabe, no matter when they first sang a protest song.

Being first doesn’t mean shit.

Neither does best.

All that matters is what the customer thinks.

If the customer thinks you own the image, you own the image.

Perception is reality.

Click here to order Brand Like a Rock Star with one click, and learn to turn your business into a rock star brand.


Bob Dylan, KISS, Mumford and Sons 220 Comments

You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

You have no idea what you’re doing.

And that’s perfectly okay.

We all feel that way sometimes.

Our insecurities tell us that other people know what they’re doing, and we don’t. But in reality, none of us are 100% certain. We’re all trying to figure this stuff out.

When U2 first started jamming together in high school, they quickly realized that they would need to write their own songs. Why?

Because U2 wasn’t good enough to replicate the music of others.

Of course, the guys in U2 eventually became pretty damn good at their craft, but they never lost sight of the need to learn and grow. Even when they became the biggest band on the planet, they never stopped experimenting and learning.

U2 learned on the job.

We are all learning as we go.

As Bre Pettis and Kio Stark wrote in their Cult of Done Manifesto, “Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.”

I’m not saying you should always “fake it until you make it”. There are many times when asking for guidance is the smartest thing you can do. But…

* Accept that all of us are a work-in-progress.

* There is no guaranteed right answer.

* You are probably smart enough to do it, learning on the job as U2 did.

* Nobody else is necessarily any smarter or better.

Click here to quickly order the paperback or Kindle version of Brand Like A Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll To Make Your Business Rich and Famous. You can turn your business into a brand that rocks!

U2 3,761 Comments

The Rock Star Business Manifesto

The Rock Star Business Manifesto (c) 2013 Steve Jones

Uncategorized 1,875 Comments

Passion Before Profits


This post was inspired watching the Grammy Awards, when Bob Marley’s sons Damian and Ziggy joined Rihanna, Sting, and Bruno Mars in a tribute to their late father Bob. Itis based on an earlier post, so forgive me if you’ve read elements of this before.

When you put passions ahead of profits, amazing things happen.

Passion is the reason you started doing what you do. Just as Bob Marley started making reggae music because it was part of his heart, soul, religion, and national identity.

Passion is what your fans galvanize around. They join the tribe. Just as Bob Marley fans attached themselves to his message of hope, peace, racial harmony, and gentle spirit.

When your business grasps for the dollar, passions are quickly compromised.

Values are thrown aside. Ideals no longer drive you. Your fans scatter.

Bob Marley fans never had to scatter. Marley remained true to his reggae passion, and as a result he became a massive worldwide superstar.

Put your passion first. Profits will follow.

 With a few clicks you could be reading the Kindle version of Brand Like A Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll To Make Your Business Rich And Famous. It is also available in paperback delivered right to your home. Order now and start rockin’ your business.

Bob Marley 300 Comments

Your Brand Starts With Your Story


Photo by Miguel Saavedra

Bruce Springsteen is the working-class boy who was born to run from the fading factories of New Jersey.

Journey is the band who lost their lead singer, then discovered a perfect sound-alike on YouTube and made him a star.

Lady Gaga is the eccentric art student from New York who combines her love of music with her love of art and fashion.

Led Zeppelin is the band Jimmy Page formed in order to play some gigs that he was hired for, and Keith Moon of The Who told him the band would go over like a “lead zeppelin”.

Every great brand begins with a great story.

I’m a personal fan of Zacapa rum, a brand that tells a truly fantastic story. Their story is “altitude”.

Zacapa rums are aged in what the company calls “the house above the clouds”, 7544 feet above sea level in the mountains of Guatemala. No other rum in the world is aged at such high altitude, where the air is thin, cool, and clean.

Does high-altitude aging make for a better rum? I haven’t got a clue. But it’s a damn good story.

When I meet other rum lovers, I tell them the Zacapa story.

Your brand’s story (and your personal brand’s story) is a talking point. It is a conversation starter. It is word-of-mouth gasoline to set your brand on fire.

Brands without a story are just products.

Take a tour of the Zacapa rum website and see how their high-altitude story is central to everything they do.

Uncover your story | Share your story | Celebrate your story

Follow-up reading:

1. The Bruce Springsteen story

2. How to use storytelling in your advertising to create a “dramatic arc”

3. Part of Bob Dylan’s story is how he borrows from others.

Discover the stories behind some of the greatest rock bands in history, and see how you can put their lessons to work in your business right away. Order your copy of Brand Like A Rock Star in paperback or digital download, with one click right here.




Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Lady GaGa, Led Zeppelin, Uncategorized, Zacapa 4,617 Comments

Super Vibes From Volkswagen


Photograph by Steve Jones

Spreading positive vibrations, Volkswagen created this Super Bowl ad to promote the VW Beetle. The commercial features a white Minnesotan at work in the USA, talking in near-perfect Jamaican patios dialect in order to cheer up his unhappy coworkers.

As expected, America was immediately outraged. The ad was quickly labeled racist by the politically correct, and VW was accused of mocking Jamaican culture.

Not so in Jamaica, highlighting how different the two nations are.

Jamaica got it right.

Jamaican tourism officials very quickly (and very wisely) recognized the opportunity to turn the publicity into positivity.

“I think this is a very creative commercial which truly taps into the tremendous mass appeal that brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally,” said Dr. Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Entertainment.

In Washington, Dr. Claire Nelson, the Jamaican-born president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, was equally enthusiastic. ”In one fell swoop, the ad directors have superimposed Jamaicans’ reputation for being hardworking — the three jobs archetype — as well as [for] our reputation for having a laid-back, positive, don’t-worry-about-a-thing disposition through the character of the Volkswagen.”

Sandals got it right too.

Adam Stewart and his team at Sandals Resorts also jumped in and wisely capitalized on the moment, creating a Jamaican version of the commercial featuring a black man touring the island and speaking in a fake German accent. “Das Jamaica” claims the very clever Sandals ad.

Jamaica’s tourism officials and the marketing team at Sandals are wise to seize the opportunity and ride the wave of happiness and positivity to send the world a message about Jamaica and it’s people. Their reaction builds on the upbeat VW message, inviting people to visit the island to share in the good vibes.

Jamaica received tremendous positive media coverage. So did Sandals. And they spent essentially nothing in order to receive it.

VW dropped millions on a Super Bowl commercial, and Jamaica turned it into a free tourism ad for their beautiful island.

What Sandals and Jamaica’s tourism department did is called “newsjacking” by author David Meerman Scott… jumping on a topical news story and giving it a spin that highlights your message, allowing journalists to cover it from a fresh perspective.

Having lived in the Caribbean and spent a great deal of time in Jamaica, I love the VW commercial.

But even more than the Volkswagen commercial itself, I love the Jamaican response.

And I love the new Jimmy Cliff song “C’mon Get Happy” that they use in both ads.

Big up VW and Jamrock! Everyting irie.

UPDATE: Another fine Jamaican brand, Red Stripe, has further “newsjacked” the controversy, providing their own ruling on the offensiveness of the commercial.




Click here to instantly order your copy of Brand Like A Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll To Make Your Business Rich and Famous. It is available for instant digital download or home delivery of the paperback. You’ll discover the core marketing strategies of rock legends like U2, Bob Marley, AC/DC, KISS, and Bob Dylan, and find out how to use their experiences to build a stronger and more profitable business.


Jamaica, Jimmy Cliff, Sandals, Uncategorized, Volkswagen 1,510 Comments

Honesty Is Catching On

Have you looked at the Top 40 charts lately?

The Lumineers are near the top with their hit “Ho Hey”. Phil Phillips’ “Home” isn’t far behind. Ed Sheeran’s beautiful “A Team“, “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons, and “Hero” by Family of the Year are all either hits or hits-in-the-making.

What happened? It feels like only a year ago that every song you heard on the radio sounded exactly the same, one Katy Perry-ish song after another. Suddenly, the biggest hits on the planet sound like a Seattle coffeehouse.

Could it be that honesty is catching on?

When a singer/songwriter picks up an acoustic guitar and plays from the heart, he or she can connect with people on a deeper level than, say, Swedish House Mafia does. But great songs of all kinds can be stripped down to pure acoustics and still sound  just as great. For example, check out how the Swedish House Mafia song “Don’t You Worry Child” can sound great (better?) without the electronic bells and whistles.

Does your brand still sound great without all of the slick production?

Certainly social media – used properly – gives you the chance to connect with your customers without all of the noise, production, and disruption. But you can exude honesty in traditional media, the way Budweiser does in their new Super Bowl commercial.

Instead of impressing us with smoke and mirrors, Rock Star brands connect with us through honesty, emotion, and integrity.

Although in rock ‘n’ roll, there’s always room for some smoke and mirrors… as long as you’re KISS or Aerosmith!

Order your copy of Brand Like a Rock Star in digital or paperback now by clicking here. You’ll learn the core marketing strategies of rock legends, and how to apply them to turn your business up to 11!

Ed Sheeran, Family of the Year, Katy Perry, Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, Phil Phillips, Uncategorized 191 Comments