I have always been a fan of the Rolling Stones, a band that has, for the past 50 plus years, been the most dynamic, profitable and durable corporation in the world. What is even more interesting is that one of the world’s greatest rock bands provides lessons and strategies for any CEO or entrepreneur to keep in mind to maintain longevity in a competitive marketplace.
In a recent book by Rich Cohen “The Sun and the Moon and the Rolling Stones’ he outlines 5 lessons for business owners and entrepreneur to digest and apply.
1. Choose the right name. In the case of the Rolling Stones, they used names such a Little Blue Boy and the Blue Boys. It wasn’t until they discovered the name Rolling Stones that provided a name that told aficionados everything they need to know about where the band came from and the sort of music they played. Choosing the right name becomes the symbol of your brand.
2. Know what the market wants from you. In the early 1960’s when the band started the Beatles already had their first hit record ‘Love Me Do’. What the Beatles did was stake out the high ground as the cute, loveable, non threatening boys next door. Instead of trying to copy them as so many bands did, the Rolling Stones became their opposite, sleaze and sex!!! What they did was recognise a niche in the market and filled it.
3. Beg, borrow, steal. At a time when British pop charts where filled with bubble gum, the Rolling Stones turned to Chicago Blues. Rather than being a cover band, the Stones added steel and speed to songs they loved. They changed the lyrics to add a more hardnosed appeal. What they did was create uniqueness about the Stones which differentiated them from the others in the market.
4. Cut the anchor before it drags you down. The Stones were largely a creation of Brian Jones however by the late 1960’s Jones was in trouble with drugs which had an impact on his reliability and commitment to the band. The other band members fired him in 1969. The lesson here was to not be sentimental with those who aren’t committed to the cause. In other words remove those who don’t share the vision
5. Never stop reinventing. The Stones have gone through at least 5 stylistic changes that allowed them to adapt to new versions of themselves. The Stones have lived and died and been reborn again and again. Whilst the Beatles reinvented themselves a couple of times, the Stones have reinvented themselves so many times that they might as well be immortal.
Rich Cohen makes some interesting observations about the Rolling Stones and there are definite lessons for CEO’s and entrepreneurs.