Brands like Bands can last forever

July 2019

When thinking of accounting practices, we rarely compare to the music industry. They are miles apart, right?!

Well... may be not. Or, indeed, not when it comes to BRANDING and market appeal.

When not travelling the globe promoting Russell Bedford International, some people may know that my passion is for music. Some time ago I would attend around 30 gigs a year (which now equates to the number of countries I visit!) Yet; despite my love for the electric guitar and anyone who can pour pure emotion into their music, whilst embracing life’s angst, I had never seen Metallica live…. UNTIL June this year!

Some 50,000 people (from age 10 to 80) let their hair down (for many, what they had left of it...) and drifted into a world of nostalgia (or, for the younger generations, experienced what their parents had taught them led the heavy rock scene for decades).

The band said “We know seeing Metallica is not cheap”. Indeed, tickets averaged at £125.

Was it worth it? Hell yeah! (said in true “Metal Voice”) 

Lesson 1: Don’t price yourself too low just to compete and believing it will make you more attractive. Clients will come to you because you have more to offer, are reliable, and can add value. Perception of quality is extremely important.

Why have Metallica remained so popular to all generations around the world? (Ok… admittedly it often has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time and of course having amazing writing ability, guitar & drum technique, combined with a committed work ethic, but...) In many respects it is BRAND.

People want the BEST and want to know they will get a valuable experience/service.

Metallica bring value; they play (pretty much non-stop) a two and a half hour set, including classics from over the years and recently new material. They are well-managed, have great marketing (just look at the effort put into all the merchandise and promotion). They also tried therapy (admitting to losing their way) - which should always be admired, and re-invented themselves but never strayed too far from their roots.

Avid fans often say they “sold out” when they became more commercial and started trying to appeal to younger fans. But... is that a bad thing? How often do we say that accounting firms need to keep up with the times (embrace new technologies, new developments, new ways to recruit, manage and RETAIN excellent talent)?

Is changing, to adapt, such a bad thing? Very often it is essential! So long as you keep your principles, your ethos, and stay true to the roots and foundation which led to the establishment of your band/accounting practice (delete as applicable), then you will last forever.

Lesson 2: Adapt to new developments, new requirements and to changes in your industry. BUT, never compromise your principles and ethos, staying true to the reasons you are doing what you are doing.

Metallica has a solid b(r)and name and a credible & reputable b(r)and image. Every entity needs to focus, regardless of the industry in which it operates.

Look after your fans/clients, protect your brand, regularly self-analyse, refresh when needed, but retain your principles. 

Not sad... but TRUE! (specific Metallica song reference for those not quite in the know!)

Author: Stephen Hamlet

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