What Can We Learn from The Artist Formerly Known as Prince?
Since I recently wrote a commentary titled 'Are You Too Old To Rock,' I thought I would share another thought from the world of music.
Recently, I found myself reading an article in a magazine on Prince, or the “The Artist Formally Known as Prince,” or the the artist formally known as a symbol. I have always viewed him as pretty odd character. Even odder when he went through a stage where his name was an unpronounceable symbol (apparently this was a response to a contract dispute with a record label).
The writer did a comprehensive story on the Artist Currently Known as Himself from his 55,000-square-foot complex, known as Paisley Park, built on the outskirts of his hometown of Minneapolis. He goes into great detail on the eccentric details of the complex, including, as you might guess, many shades of the color purple.
Prince is described as being modest and even shy. "The Artist" has a completely different personality off stage than the guitar-wailing showman of legend. He is releasing a new album, but has no need to chase hits. This artist, whatever his name is for the moment, has been very successful and made his indelible mark on the music industry. I would guess that the mark might be some shade of purple.
In the interview, he notes that he likes young energy, which is along the same lines as what I have said when addressing the next generation of leaders in the promotional products industry. The young people in our industry encourage me because they seem more willing to respond to a radically changing marketplace. If you aren’t aware of PromoKitchen, check out what it is cooking up in our industry.
The Artist had an interesting response when asked about the need for record labels. "They are outmoded," he said. "Why do they get to take your work and take a piece of that? What are they bringing to the table? I’m not mad. They are not bad people. But the system is old and it doesn’t work anymore.”
He also addressed the delay involved in record labels. His new album is being released through Tidal, a digital service. Through today’s technology, things can move quickly. I would add that through effective social media, video and how we can communicate today, all businesses are able to cost-effectively reach a large number of people. What’s new and hot in the promotional marketing industry can be shared quickly and easily. That’s a positive thing.
The Artist goes on to note that the music business system is old and doesn’t work any longer. “Athletes have unions, and musicians don’t," he said. "They can strike, we can’t. So this is what we do, we go outside the system.”
Ah, go outside the system.
It’s painful to think about this. Is the traditional supplier/distributor/end-user system broken? Through the years, this has always been a hot topic … and it always will be. Each year, things continue to change. Many would say the changes are not positive for the health of the promotional marketing industry. The challenge, of course, is what can be done about it? Change will happen whether we like it or not. How we adapt and harness the changes will determine our future.
What can we learn from The Artist Formally Known as a symbol/Prince? One thing is that it is OK to be a bit different. Have some character in your business branding. Through the years, I've built my company’s image by being a bit different. We have creatively used our own advertising medium to convey our business-building message. Tool-themed products made up our PPAI Pyramid Award- and ASI Spirit Award-winning Marketing Toolbox. Different is good.
It’s worth noting that some business strategies will never go out of style. Care about meeting the needs of your clients in ways that can’t be done with a mouse. Build solid relationships and operate with integrity. Take advantage of attending industry events.
Understand and take advantage of the new social media tools we have available. In today’s exciting marketplace, we have the ability to reach a huge audience very cost-effectively. In this short video, you can see what one distributor is doing to build her business using the tools FreePromoTips.com provides.
It’s interesting what we can learn from someone so far away from the promotional marketing industry. The reality is that all industries have changing business models. It will be those who have the ability to change with the times that will succeed.
Jeff Solomon, MAS, is affiliated with a top 10 distributor company and also publishes FreePromoTips.com, a popular industry resource. The PPAI-award-winning FreePromoTips.com website and twice-a-month e-newsletters are packed with beneficial information. You can opt in to receive these informative twice a month e-newsletters here. Check out what’s new in the GP2: Good Products-Good Prices section of the site. Take advantage of free end-user-safe product videos you can share from the YourPromotionSolution.com website. You can stay connected to FreePromoTips on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, me personally on LinkedIn, my personal Twitter account and my Instagram account. Follow my occasional live broadcasts on Periscope: @JeffSolomonMAS