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Is it weird for a rock band to give us some marketing tips? We don’t think so.
Nowadays, we’re overwhelmed by marketing and advertisements of all sorts, which makes it difficult for a company to stand out. In a world of possibilities, everything is plausible, and creativity must be valued—even more if it helps differentiate a brand from its competitors. Design, localization, customer care, brand image, and personality are all factors that play a role in building a strong marketing strategy.
We have been reflecting upon this lately and have come across some useful inspiration from a concert of the greatest rock band of all time.
Here are seven marketing lessons we learned from The Rolling Stones.
Choose a Captivating Logo
Logos are a critical element of business marketing. They are the graphical representation of the company, and as such, they must convey the unique identity of the company and its characteristics and values.
A logo must be immediately recognizable and associated with a specific company. This implies the fact that it must be comprehensible to all potential customers all over the world. So designing a logo requires great care, not only in terms of typographical characters but also in terms of cultural perception; if you plan to expand into a foreign country, for instance, you cannot underestimate the fact that your logo might be wrongly perceived by the culture of that specific foreign country.
It was 1971 when The Rolling Stones felt the need to have their own logo. Mick Jagger wanted it to be funny and irreverent at the same time. The most famous tongue in the world—which also recalls Mick Jagger’s big mouth—was drawn by John Pasche, an unknown student from the Royal College of Art in London. It appeared for the first time on the cover of the Stones’ 1971 album Sticky Fingers, and in 2008, the original sketch was sold to the Victoria & Albert Museum for £50,000.
Focus on the Experience
People like people and want to buy from them. Nowadays, we are overwhelmed by advertising. What people want to buy the most is experience. This is what makes you different from all your competitors, and this is why good customer care can make you earn loyal customers who are happy to pay for your service or product.
The Rolling Stones know this idea well. They give exceptional experiences to their fans, who keep on following them despite the price of their tickets. A Rolling Stones concert is not only about music—it is an actual show, with colors, music, and entertainment deeply intertwined, and the result is an emotional experience one can barely forget (even if it means spending more than £120 for a ticket!).
Make Your Product Stand Out
What makes you different from your competitors? Analyze your sales and find out what people mostly value you for, then work on it. That is, you cannot just keep selling the same product. Instead, if there is something you’re mostly known for, focus on it. In time, you can modify it to adapt to new needs and market trends. In doing so, you will generate new sales, but you won’t lose your uniqueness—that is, those characteristics that make your product recognizable among the chaos of everything else.
The Stones have barely come out with hits since their 1981 song Start Me Up, so despite having published a couple of albums in recent years, during their concerts, they mainly focus on their past hits. During these 50+ years of activity, they have captured new trends in music, but they have never forgotten their blues roots. They were born as a blues band, and this bluesy sound unites all their productions like a thin semantic thread, making their sound unique in its genre. Have you listened to their latest album Blue and Lonesome? Even if you don’t know that it is by The Rolling Stones, you cannot help but think that it sounds like a Stones album.
Build Your Image
Reflect upon your brand identity and who you are, which is deeply bound to your brand uniqueness. Then narrow down the things you like and what you don’t, and use them as a source of inspiration. This will help you create your image—that is, how you want people to see you. For instance, our CEO Noemi likes the vintage universe, and we are an all-female company; we tried to give expression to these elements through our website, social media, the colors we use, and the images and logo we have chosen to promote ourselves. In other words, decide where you want to stand in the world.
We don’t want to give voice to stereotypes, but let’s think for a moment of the different images of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The former were four boys from Liverpool, well dressed and with perfect hair—at least at first—who looked like four good boys every mother would have wanted as husbands for their daughters. Well, the Stones chose to stand on exactly the opposite side: dressed either in colorful shabby clothes (Keith Richards) or in eccentric suits (Mick Jagger), living a life of excesses, alcohol, sex, and drugs. They were arrested by the police and were famous for those rave parties that often took place in Richard’s flat in London. But all these elements have contributed to building their image, which has generated a myth that is still alive.
Localize Your Product and Communication
If you run an international company, you need to localize your communication and products to get closer to your customers in all the countries you work in. Every language has a different culture; if you are aware of it, you will avoid embarrassing incidents (read here about what happened to big companies when they tried to expand in a foreign country without knowing either the language or the culture).
When on tour, The Rolling Stones change their tracklist almost every night, and they always add some details that make the audience go crazy. For instance, during their latest concert in Italy, Jagger sang the song As Tears Go By in Italian and talked a lot in Italian. Isn’t this an example of localization?
Do Things Your Own Way
When you write your business plan, you must be aware of the fact that it can undergo some changes depending on the situation. In other words, you must adapt your business to the economic or cultural situation—there’s no point in continuing to sell a product nobody is interested in. Sometimes, just a little change or a restyling is the solution.
The Rolling Stones have always been themselves after developing that bluesy sound that is their trademark. But this does not mean they don’t know what happens all around, musically speaking. For instance, between the end of the ‘70s and the ‘80s, disco music was particularly in vogue: Miss You was released in 1978, and it shows some echoes of the disco. You cannot listen to it and keep your body standing still.
Surprise to Get the Right Attention
Getting attention from customers is key. But, as we said in a previous post, it is also important to get attention from the right partners. You can work on little details that make your product different from the rest and make people remember you better.
For example, producer Oldham asked the band to add “I Can’t Get No” before “Satisfaction” and added a comma between “Paint It” and “Black.” The songs immediately changed meaning, and their subversive side was brought out. Everyone was talking about it, sales increased, and record companies were even more interested in the Stones.
We know, it’s only rock ‘n roll, but we can still learn a lot from it, can’t we?
If you are interested in any of our localization or internationalization services, check out the specific page here.
Written by Marcella Sartore, Marketing & Communication Assistant @ Athena Parthenos
Photo credits: header taken from the website www.mymovies.it