x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Strategies for those about to rock

Most rock stars are rich, but the ability to make vast amounts of money is usually where the similarity with the business world ends - or is it?

The image of a middle-aged businessman rocking out to AC/DC or Kiss is, quite frankly, a little bit sad.

But as it turns out you can learn more than just air guitar moves from studying rock stars.

A radio DJ-turned programmer has written a business book that uses the music industry as a lens to view different lessons and build a better brand.

"It looks at rock and roll legends and what they have accomplished and sort of gets to the core of their marketing strategies and shows you how to apply those things toward your business," says Steve Jones, the author of Brand Like a Rock Star.

Each chapter uses a different band to relate it back to business. One example in the book is AC/DC, which taught the world the value of consistency.

"Over the course of a 40-year career AC/DC has changed very little; the same sort of songs, the same look, the same visual images and queues," says Mr Jones, who shares the same name as an English rock guitarist and Sex Pistols member. "Their brand has remained consistent, even though the music industry has changed a great deal around them. They have never lost sight of what they stand for."

One of the best examples of a company that uses consistency to its advantage is Coca-Cola, which has evolved but "the essence of what it stands for" has changed very little. Similarly with Jeep, which has changed what is under the hood but its brand message has remained consistent.

Mr Jones's interest in the power of branding started when he noticed some radio stations play almost the same music, but there are some that are more popular than others.

"That led me down the path of understanding that when people punch that dial and hear the radio station, they have an expectation that something will happen there because of their brand," says Mr Jones, who oversees the content of 80 radio stations.

It may be an unconventional approach to teaching people about business, but it works, he says.

"When you can use a story about Eminem to tell a business lesson … the lesson resonates more and it stays with them longer. I think people get involved in the story and enjoy the story," he adds.

gduncan@thenational.ae

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