What can we learn from ‘the Boss’ about taking care of business?
I was fortunate enough earlier this year to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. Like many in the audience, it was the umpteenth time I’d caught him live since his first visit to Australia in the mid-eighties.
Springsteen has endured. He’s one of the few musical artists who has somehow maintained his relevance, popularity and artistic integrity for more than forty years. How has he done it and what can we learn from him from a branding and business perspective? How has he built such enduring loyalty from his fans? There are all sorts of analogies that one can draw, but here are a few.
Foundations and principles – clarity and belief
From the start, Springsteen has pursued a single-minded vision based on staying true to his beliefs.
Every business needs to clearly identify what their business is, why they want to be in business and how they want to conduct their business. Then the hard part follows – sticking to these principles.
Adapt and adjust to the environment
Though Springsteen has been very driven in his pursuit of artistic excellence, he’s never operated in a vacuum and always been highly aware of the prevailing social and musical influences around him. But rather than follow these, he incorporates what’s relevant into his own music and into the messages that he wants to communicate.
Every business must reassess their vision and purpose and readjust accordingly in a changing world. This doesn’t mean changing direction and jumping on the latest bandwagon, but rather being aware of trends and assessing how it relates to the vision and purpose of your business.
Details matter when quality is at stake
Springsteen spends hours conducting pre-concert sound checks. Of course, other acts also do sound-checks, but here’s the difference. Instead of having sound engineers carry out the sound check, or merely carrying out a quick half-hour overview, Springsteen will physically wander through the empty arena he’s scheduled to play and personally check out how the sound will be heard in various parts of the stadium. Talk about putting yourself in the shoes of your customers! This is all about quality control and awareness of its far-reaching impact. The delivery of quality brings its own reward. And quality is all about getting the little things right so that the big picture can shine.
Consistency in delivery
When attending a Springsteen concert the audience is assured of at least one thing. For three hours or more, they will be at the centre of all that matters. It’s a promise that covers a lot of ground and which ticks many boxes. It’s a promise that builds credibility. And once your customers believe you, you’re well on the way to building a relationship that will endure for a long time.
Just ask the Boss.