Tonight: Thoughts On Customer Appreciation


night concert

For the band, it could be just another night. Show number 62 of a 104 city world tour.

It could be “whatever”.

But the great bands realize that from the audience, things look a little different.

Tonight is special.

Tonight, someone in the huge crowd of anonymous faces is seeing their favorite band for the very first time.

Tonight, there is a fan who traveled thousands of miles to see this concert.

Tonight, there is a person in the audience who circled this date on their calendar a year ago and dropped a week’s pay to be here.

Tonight, a group of long lost friends are reuniting for the first time in decades.

Tonight, someone will fall in love.

Nine months from tonight, someone new will enter the world.

And tonight, a dying fan will cry, knowing that they are seeing their favorite band for the very last time.

It is no different when someone walks into your business.

You can treat it as just another anonymous transaction and take their money.

Or you can pause for a moment and realize that, in a small but powerful way, you are changing lives.


Unlock the marketing secrets of rock legends, and click here to order Brand Like a Rock Star: Lessons From Rock n Roll To Make Your Business Rich and Famous.

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Give Us Something To Love About You


airport sign

Rock ‘n’ roll is filled with little nuggets that we’ve fallen in love with.

The Police left a stray piano note in the opening bars of “Roxanne”. It was accidentally created by Sting’s ass when he sat on a piano.

P!nk regularly adds little spoken-word ‘asides’ in her songs that grab your attention.

On Greatest Hits Vol 2 by The Eagles, there is a hidden track after the final notes of “After The Thrill Is Gone”. It is a cool studio outtake that true fans can really get into.

The little nuggets engage the mind, add unexpected value, and give your biggest fans a reason to smile.

They reveal your human side, and allow people to bond with you.

I frequently travel all over the world for speaking engagements, and return to my home airport, Halifax International, on Canada’s east coast.

Normally I travel carry-on, but on my most recent trip I had to check bags. As I waited at the baggage carousel, I noticed this sign.

It clearly pointed out where you should wait for luggage, wait for passengers, or wait… for nothing.

Making someone smile after they’ve traveled across the continent isn’t easy, but this sign did exactly that.

What little nuggets of humor, humanity, and warmth do you share with your customers?

In-N-Out Burger puts the numerical references to Bible passages on the bottom of their drink cups, in addition to their famous “secret menu”. Just for fun.

My wife’s VW Beetle has a button that changes the interior light colors to purple, red, and yellow. Just for fun.

Apple has equipped Siri with a sense of humor. Try asking her what kind of mobile phone you should buy. Just for fun.

You can order the book Brand Like a Rock Star with one simple click here. It will get you started on building a better business by putting the strategies of rock legends to work for you!

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The Good News Is That Nobody Cares


We love the songs because we are inspired by them. We’re emotionally engaged in them. We care about them.

Here’s the cold hard truth about your business: nobody really cares.

The sooner you accept that reality, the sooner you can get around to inspiring us to care.

That’s what marketing is for… to inspire us to care.

We will not be inspired by mere information. Advertising that makes us aware of your business doesn’t make us care.

We care about things that matter to us, and everything else is noise.

How will I feel when I become a customer?

Apple makes me feel like I can use technology to change my world.

Nike makes me feel like I can become a better version of myself through physical activity.

Jeep makes me feel like I can go anywhere, take my own path, and not let anything stand in my way.

Grey Goose makes me feel like I have sophisticated and discriminating tastes.

Harley-Davidson makes me feel like a bad-ass who doesn’t follow your rules.

How will your business make me feel?

Put aside the typical marketing BS and use your advertising to emotionally engage us.


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Why People Want To Punch You In The Face


Hugh MacLeod is the author of “Ignore Everybody” and


Everyone is yelling in their advertising, trying to be louder than the next guy in order to get your attention.

When everyone is yelling, sometimes the best way to get heard is to speak very softly.

Something special happens when a singer picks up a guitar and plays and sings from the heart. Stripped of all of the bells and whistles of a studio, acoustic songs have a powerful way of connecting.

Some of the most popular songs in rock history are acoustic, like “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas, a philosophical song about life… and inevitable death.  Although it sounded nothing like any other song the band had ever recorded, it became their biggest hit.

Does your business advertise in an honest and transparent way?

Yelling, boasting, bragging, and making unsubstantiated claims doesn’t communicate honesty.

As my friend and fellow author Hugh MacLeod said, “if you talked to people the way advertising talks to people, they’d punch you in the face.”

He’s right.

When you strip your marketing down and speak from the heart, people will listen.

 You can order your copy of Brand Like a Rock Star with one click right here, and get started reading about how you can grow your business using the core marketing strategies of rock legends.


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Work Your Ass Off


steve and book

How many Facebook ads did you see this week for get-rich-quick schemes and lose-weight-fast programs? God I’m sick of seeing those.

Those ads are out there because every day thousands of idiots click on them.

Con artists are making millions from gullible people who want to take the shortcut to success.

There is only one shortcut: work your ass off.

James Brown sweated it out night after night until days before his heart gave out. He was the “hardest working man in show business”.

Bruce Springsteen plays for four hours a night because he has fans who expect him to earn his keep, and he doesn’t let them down.

The boys in U2 were so bad when they first got together that they couldn’t even play cover songs. They were forced to write their own music, and they worked their ass off to become world class musicians along the way.

Working hard doesn’t just mean literally putting in more hours than the next guy. It means working relentlessly hard at being smarter, shrewder, and more clever.

Work your ass off to surprise, delight, and amaze your fans.

Work your ass off to be different from your competitors.

Work your ass off to provide an experience that is uniquely yours.

Work your ass off to always live up to the expectations of your customers.

Work your ass off to keep them coming back for more.

Work your ass off to fix problems, rectify mistakes, and prevent them from happening again.

Work your ass off to have fun, share some humanity, and show some kindness and warmth in business.

Work your ass off to get up off the ground when you are hit with setbacks.

Go rock your business today. I’d love to hear how it goes. I’m at steve(at)

Have a great weekend.

You can order your copy of Brand Like a Rock Star with one click right here.


Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, U2 447 Comments

Absolut Brilliance in Branding


It is a powerful and wonderful feeling when you hear a song and it feels like it was written for you. It feels like the singer is singing that song about you and your life.

That’s one of the beautiful things about music… people make it their own.

But the idea of offering customers something unique doesn’t have to stop at music.

With some original thinking, the brilliant minds at Absolut Vodka have created vodka bottles that are each unique. When manufacturing their bottles, they simply placed a small amount of cobalt blue glass into the usually clear glass while it was hot. As it cooled, the cobalt blue created unique formations and made certain that each bottle was one-of-a-kind original. No two bottles of Absolut Originality are alike.

How can you make your brand special to your customers and fans?

How can you offer them something that is uniquely their own?

The answer could be as simple as a tiny piece of blue glass.

If you would like your copy of “Brand Like A Rock Star” personalized, send an email to steve(at) I’ll sign and personalize a postcard like the one below. You can insert it into the cover of your book and make it uniquely yours.

rock star postcard photo


If you don’t already own the book, it can be yours with one click here.

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Don’t Let Your Title Define You


Al Kooper was a guitar player, invited to watch Bob Dylan record “Like A Rolling Stone”.

But Al really wanted to play, not watch.

So he told the producer that he had a great idea for the organ in the song… even though he really didn’t.  When he sat down at the organ, Al couldn’t hear the rest of the band very well in his headphones, so he had to watch as the band changed chords.

As a result, Al’s organ came in an eighth note late every time.

When Dylan listened back to the recording, he ordered the producer to turn up the organ. That odd organ sound, made up on the spot, became a key element of “Like A Rolling Stone”.

Like Al Kooper, there will be many times where you’ll need to be brave and bold.

The stakes are high in business, but great rewards only come from taking great risks.

Al Kooper didn’t let his status as a guitar player prevent him from being an organ player.

Don’t let your title define you.

Brand Like a Rock Star helps you define your brand, using the lessons of rock ‘n’ roll legends. You can click here and buy it direct from Amazon.

And next month, Brand Like a Rock Star comes out in India. Here’s a look at the book trailer with the new cover artwork for India.

Al Kooper, Bob Dylan 199 Comments

Awareness Versus Interest


It is easy to confuse awareness with interest.

Back in 1998, their record label spent millions of dollars to promote the launch of Van Halen III. The whole rock ‘n’ roll world was aware of the story, with David Lee Roth and then Sammy Hagar departing the band. New lead singer Gary Cherone had joined VH. With tons of hype and marketing push, the album was a total flop. It became the first Van Halen album to sell fewer than one million copies. After that flop, the band didn’t record a new song for a decade.

We knew about the new Van Halen album. We just didn’t care.

In your marketing, consider the lesson of Van Halen III: Awareness doesn’t equal interest.

Money can make me aware.

You can purchase enough media to mathematically guarantee that nearly everyone is aware of your business.

Money can’t make me care.

In order to make me care, your message needs to connect with me on an emotional level. Your message needs to satisfy an emotional need within me. Your message needs to matter.

Make sure that your customers and potential customers care about your message, because if your message doesn’t speak to their heart, good luck trying to open their wallet.



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