Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Marketing Lessons from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

I was off on a road trip last week, and one of my stops was the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in downtown Cleveland.

I'm used to marketing products, services, and ideas. The Hall of Fame markets an entire culture. Can I learn a few things from them and apply it to marketing the books, widgets, services, and opportunities that make up my livelihood? You bet!

A few for starters:

* If you want to market a culture, define it broadly. Rock, as the Hall of Fame sees it, goes back to the 1940s and continues through the day after tomorrow. So anyone under about 80 will feel that the museum has something for them.

* Honor the contributions of others. One of the things that really makes the museum stand out is its emphasis on the trailblazers of folk, jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, and world music. Without them, rock would never have come to be. By honoring these pioneers, the museum has made itself accessible to several older generations, and let casual fans trace the music through its roots, so they gain a greater understanding of what makes this a music to take seriously.

* Employ all the senses. Sound, vision, and touch are all part of the experience. I imagine they'll figure out ways of incorporating taste and smell at some point.

* Make it fun! And make it unique. You'd expect to see Eric Clapton's guitar, Jimi Hendrix's wardrobe. But how about John Lennon's grammar school report card? (His teachers saw him as creative, but undisciplined.) Or a video clip of Bruce Springsteen saying most rock stars wee misfits in school.

I'll stop there. It was not only a wonderful good time, but it was professionally useful, too.


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