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Unleashed E63: Steve Jones - Branding Like A Rockstar

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Even if they’re invested in your industry, your customers are far more likely to get excited about Taylor Swift than your new product launch. If a business is going to stand out, it needs to find a way to harness the recognition and brand loyalty that turn a music act into a worldwide phenomenon.

Steve Jones, a long-time staple of the music industry and author of “Brand Like a Rock Star” shares charming stories about music legends and explains how businesses can use that magnetism to become a powerhouse. 

Actions You Can Take Right Now

  1. Rather than focusing on change at every single corner, focus on what you do right. Your favorite restaurant, your favorite band, and your favorite song are all important to you because of their consistency.  

  2. If you have the right team behind you, you can afford to make a few mistakes. You might find that the risks you take turn into the best choices you make. 

  3. Instead of wishing for your competitors to disappear, use their positioning as a jumping-off point for your own. Finding what makes you different from them creates the thing that makes you memorable.   
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View or listen to this and other past episodes on the Unleashed Podcast Library

Episode Highlights and Excerpts

  • Steve’s book, “Brand Like a Rockstar”, takes lessons he learned from working with folks in the music industry and applies them to the border business world. 
    • He spends much of his time looking into “business topography” which shows that if something applies in one sphere of business, it will be just as effective somewhere else.
  • Being excellent at what you do is vital to the survival of your business, but it won’t make you stand out. If you want to be memorable, you have to make it impossible to ignore you. The opposite of loving your business isn’t hating it, it’s ignoring it. 
    • Kiss was able to go from obscurity to world-class stardom by being memorable and demanding attention 

    • Grunge was able to take over because the bands were markedly different, not necessarily better or worse

  • “The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” To stand out, you have to accept that there will be people who don’t like you. 

  • Great businesses are formed on a desire to solve problems for the world, not to make money. Keeping these values at your core will help you stand out and stick around 
    • Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign connected to their core values and made them stand out dramatically from their competition

  • Just like musicians breaking into the industry, if you want to start a business you have to love the craft. It will be hard work, but the love of it can push you forward 

  • Anyone can find a reason not to like something. Surround yourself with people who get you and love the work you’re doing. 

  • While there’s continual pressure to change with the times, staying consistent in your core values and doing one thing well will infuse longevity into your business 
    • ACDC consistently provides the same experience and delivers on the expectations of their fans

  • Some of the greatest music ever made came from mistakes. Give yourself the freedom to fail and know that it won’t be the end of your business. Only trying things if you know you’ll get it right is the enemy of progress and risk-taking. 

  • Treat every single opportunity with the importance, gravity, and care that you did the first time, because somebody is hearing it for the first time. 

  • Focusing too intently on the little short-term goals can quickly make you lose sight of the big picture reason you’re in business and the big picture reason that your customers are coming to you. 

  • Your competitors give your business value. A Rolex is only a luxury watch because there’s a Timex watch available for $50.

Take Your Business to the Next Level

At Results we care about your success, we understand how overwhelming it can feel to run a business, and we’re here to help. Reach out to Nicole through our contact form for ways to unleash the potential of your business. 

Visit the Unleashed Podcast Library where you’ll find exclusive conversations with world-class thought leaders, authors, and leadership experts. 

Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his day exploring what makes high performers tick and helping build a community of leaders who want to learn and grow together. Follow Jeff (Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram) for more great leadership insights.

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Steve Jones

Steve Jones headshot

Steve Jones has spent 35 years leading music and media organizations around the world.

Today Steve is the SVP/Brands & Content for Stingray Radio. Stingray is the world’s 3rd largest distributor of music behind only Spotify and Apple. Over the course of more than three decades, Steve has led successful media brands in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. Along the way, he has had a unique front-row perspective on the rise (and sometimes fall) of countless rock stars. Those experiences form the basis for his two best-selling books, Brand Like a Rock Star and Start You Up.

Steve has worked alongside countless stars in music and observed how they strategically created passionate fan bases, built dedicated followings, and forged lasting and immensely profitable careers. He shows you how to apply those lessons to your business.

You can learn more at Steve's website