The Aerosmith interview on 60 Minutes last weekend was one of the most revealing and interesting band profiles I’ve seen, and there were plenty of take-away points that could easily be applied to business.
One thing that caught my eye were the shots from the band’s early days in Boston, showing Steven Tyler decked out in the same wild clothes he wears today. In the background was a rougher looking version of the famous Aerosmith logo that has appeared on every one of their albums. I love that kind of consistency. It is amazing that the band has the same vision branding cues that were in play before they were famous!
There is an obviously long-standing love/hate relationship between the lead singer and his band. They recognize Tyler’s immense talent, as does Tyler himself, but they also resent his behavior from time to time. Joe Perry admits that he loves Steven Tyler, but doesn’t cherish certain aspects of his personality. Meanwhile, Tyler acknowledges that his style isn’t always popular, but he credits the blunt perfectionist within him for creating so many of the band’s hits.
Here are five business lessons you can learn from watching the tumultuous career of Aerosmith:
1. Your career isn’t over until you’re dead. Aerosmith has been brought back from the brink of extinction several times, including a few years ago when Tyler fell off the stage in Sturgis, ND and ruined the band’s summer tour plans. Yet they are back again, working on a new album and riding a wave of new-found popularity thanks to Tyler’s role as a judge on American Idol.
2. You have to reinvent yourself to stay relevant. Aerosmith’s reinvented in 1987 when hip hop pioneers Run DMC invited them to help remake ”Walk This Way“. That song relaunched Aerosmith’s dead career. Today they’ve been reinvented thanks to American Idol. Do you look critically at your brand to make sure it is always evolving and staying relevant?
3. There is a difference between “respect” and “love”. Reading the Steve Jobs biography left me with the same feeling. Jobs came across in that book as someone that wasn’t always easy to love, but even his biggest detractors respected him. The boys in Aerosmith don’t always love Steven Tyler, but they definitely respect him. As a leader, can you easily accept that?
4. Any publicity is good publicity. Appearing on 60 Minutes was a coup for the band, even though the interview didn’t paint them in the kindest of lights. Aerosmith knows by now that nearly every piece of publicity they can get is good for the band. When people are talking about you, you are winning. There are exceptions, like BP’s infamous oil spill. But most of the time you should be more concerned about whether the media spelled your name right, and less concerned about what they said about you.
5. Never lose sight of how good you have it. Clearly the band has been through hell, and it appears that quite often they don’t like each other that much. But you can sense that all of them understand that they are better together than they are apart. Even when things aren’t going well within the band, they know they are damn good at what they do. And the payday, $20 million for 10 concerts last year in South America, is pretty good too.
You can order the digital download or paperback version of Brand Like A Rock Star now with one click. The book takes you backstage to discover the core marketing strategies of rock’s legends, and shows you how to put them to work in your business right away. Don’t forget to also download the free “Musical Companion” to go deeper into the bands profiled.