Lessons That Rock

by: Wendy Marlow


I love reading!  A few months ago I picked up the book, "Brands That Rock" at Pick Wicks, my favourite vintage bookstore in Waterdown. Authors Roger Blackwell and Tina Stephan define in show-stopping detail the parallels between rock and roll bands and business brands.  Who would have thought there were such strong similarities between KISS and WalMart, The Rolling Stones and Cadillac, and Elton John and JetBlue Airways. Here are three lessons from legends:

Lesson One

In the worlds of Rock and Roll AND Business you have to know the difference between your customers (irregular buyers);clients (regular buyers); and fans (loyal buyers/promoters):  

Customers:  are price-driven

Clients:        are loyalty driven

Fans:           are experience driven


Customers:  want you to sell them products/services

Clients:        want products/services and good service

Fans:           want personalized advice and solutions


Customers:  are indifferent to your company

Clients:        feel a connection with you

Fans:           invest in their relationship with you


Customers:  don't think or talk about your firm

Clients:        recommend your firm casually

Fans:           promote your firm 


Lesson Two: 

In order to turn the spark of customers and clients into flaming fans you need to: 

  • create emotional connections
  • maintain and adapt existing brands (it's more profitable than inventing new ones)
  • remain culturally relevant
  • show passion and energy that people want to support

Lesson Three: 

Take Aerosmith front man Stephen Tyler's advice.  When asked what the goal of his band was he replied "to kick ass and leave a footprint". Amen!

Wendy Marlow is the President of the Art of Marketing. She can be reached at