Independent Thinking Blog

How to Think Like a Rock Star

It’s always amazing to watch companies spend the bulk of their efforts trying to attract new customers. Great introductory offer! First month of service free! Balloons for the kids! Once they’ve made the sale, however, the love ends–and many of the same companies pretty much ignore you.

Rock stars, Mack Collier explains in a terrific new book, do the opposite.

Rock stars focus on their existing customers (their fans).

Think Like a Rock Star is filled with examples of musicians who turned the focus away from themselves and onto their fans. Katy Perry, who asked her fans to create videos telling people about their “Firework.” The Donnas, who encourage their fans to upload their own audio and video from live performances to a fan-run fan site. Lady Gaga, who revealed the cover image of her new upcoming single after her fans made “Marry the Night” (the title) the top trending topic on Twitter. Johnny Cash, who went to Folsom Prison to play a free concert for his fans there.

This isn’t a book about rock stars.

What makes Think Like a Rock Star so valuable is that Collier’s book is filled with examples of companies that are walking the walk. This isn’t a process that only rock stars can do.

For example, Collier looks at companies that are finding the bigger idea behind the brand (via teaching, awareness raising, and being inspirational). He points to  HomeGoods, whose blog focuses on home decorating rather than hawking home-decorating products. In the government realm, he points to the Centers for Disease Control’s Zombie Apocalypse kit, which offers a humorous way to raise awareness of emergency preparedness. And then there’s always Nike, whose “Just Do It” campaign has inspired athletes of all calibers to get moving.

Collier also makes a key distinction between cultivating sales and cultivating advocates. This means it’s not about loyalty programs and other activities tied to a purchase. Collier writes, “If you want to cultivate fans, the goal is to reward existing behavior, not to attempt to provide incentives for sales.”

Finally, the book offers a road map for organizations that want to rethink their relationship with customers. In other words, how can you think like a rock star?

My copy of Think Like a Rock Star is highlighted with strategies I want to think about more and tips I want to implement in my business (and in my clients’ organizations). Whether your company is just becoming a social brand or you’re starting on a social business evolution, this book will help you connect smarter and with purpose with your customers–and, hopefully, turn them into fans.

*Disclosure: I received a free copy of Think Like a Rock Star in exchange for agreeing to review it–but without any restrictions on what I might say.

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