Be Like The Beatles and Have a Booming Business
Yes, when it comes to The Beatles I'm a huge nerd. And yes, that's probably because I think The Beatles are still relevant in a way that will never go away. I've always felt that no matter what point in your life you are in, a Beatles song has answers to many of life's questions.
So what happens when you have questions regarding your business? Yes, The Beatles have an answer for that too. A new book by Richard Courtney and George Cassidy, set to be released in March, "Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles" offers just that.
Here are a few tips "Come Together" offers:
Image and Branding
Is your business unique? Is it set apart from your competitors? What set the early Beatles apart from other bands (other than an awesome product) was their iconic mop-top haircuts. Make sure you have a distinct visual identity, like The Beatles with their hair, and like Elvis' dance moves before them.
The boys also knew how to have fun and enjoy the ride. When they first arrived in America, this is what happened at the press conference:
Q: Are you going to get haircuts while you're here?
George Harrison: I just had one yesterday.
Q: Aren't you afraid of what the American Barbers Association is going to think of you?
Ringo Starr: Well, we run quicker than the English ones, we'll have a go here, you know.
Like The Beatles did, be sure to keep your image and brand fun and exciting.
The Beatles didn't come up with their haircuts on their own. Their good friend from their Hamburg days, Astrid Kirchher, came up with the style for her then-boyfriend Klaus Voormann, which was then adopted by the lads from Liverpool. The takeaway here is don't try and do everything yourself. Some of the best ideas can come from outside sources.
Does your business have a social media strategy in place? If so, hire an outside person that knows more about social media and social media marketing than you. In The Beatles case, Brian Epstein was that outside person. He knew more about the business and marketing aspect of the music business than any of The Beatles did at that point. In turn, Epstein helped turn them into, well, The Beatles.
Did you know that the famous guitar solo to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is really Eric Clapton? Billy Preston is another famous musician that loaned his talents to the Beatles, with his presence on the Let it Be album. And let's not forget Sir George Martin's gift for production. Lesson: Don't be afraid to get outside help.
Do you love your customers? The Beatles did. They responded to as many fan letters as possible in the early days of their careers. A scene in their movie, "A Hard Day's Night" shows them (partially) respond to armfuls upon armfuls of fan letters. Every year around the holidays they released a fan-club-only Christmas album. They genuinely cared about their fans. So much so, that during their first U.S. concert in Washington D.C. in 1964, they had a rotating stage, so everyone would have a view of them — not just their backs.
Aside from having a great product, the Beatles were clutch at customer retention because of their awesome customer service. Because of their early efforts to reward their fans, they never stopped being loyal. In the 1990s all three of the Anthologies debuted at No. 1 on the charts, nearly 25 years after they broke up. Following that, their compilation album of hits, simply titled 1 debuted at No. 1 in 2000. With customer service in mind, remember that "the love you take is equal to the love you make." Will your customers still be around in 25 or 30 years supporting your product?
The Beatles had a fan clubs all around the world. Therefore, if you don't already, you should have a fan page on Facebook, and a Twitter account. This allows for two-way communication that is essential to building brand image. Betina Rose ran the fan club and created a fictional character named Anne Collingham as "official secretary." Your Anne Collingham will be your Facebook fan page, and will handle two-way conversations about your brand.
Did you know that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced with an "imposter Paul?" The "Paul is dead" rumors provided interesting and engaging content that kept fans interested. Even though the rumors were not propagated by the Beatles themselves, if it were a marketing strategy, it would have been a good one. Announcements that McCartney may have "died" sent past album sales skyrocketing to Beatlemania heights, as fans searched for the famous "death clues" that were scattered throughout The Beatles' catalog.
If you run email campaigns, provide compelling, interesting, and relevant content that will keep your customers coming back for the latest hot scoops. I wouldn't go to the extreme of a fake death, however, but find something interesting and engaging that will get your customers involved with your brand.
The Beatles are a business example to follow. They offer a great product, great customer experience, and managed to have fun while doing it (at least in the early years). By following some of the examples above, you too, can be as big as The Beatles.
Related story: Beatles Could Deliver Smash Hit For Retailers