I was kindly invited to go and see a double bill of Glam Rock recently by a client who was grateful for my work – Oddly enough I’d never seen The Sweet and Slade ever before (OK, I know the purists will say that the bands now have a different line up, but it would be difficult to reform The Sweet as 50% have left this mortal coil! )
But, as always, the real question for me is, are there any business lessons from Glam Rock? Of course there are:
Branding Lessons from Glam Rock
Style overwhelms substance – Dave Hill of Slade may well not have gotten a job playing guitar in Yes or Be-Bop Deluxe, but undoubtedly Slade win hands down in the ‘branding / image / memory department’, for good or bad. Unfortunately this lesson does NOT transfer well from the music world to the world of business, where many things are based on ‘needs’ not ‘wants’. Covering substance up with style does not lead to sustainable competitive advantage in many areas of business unless the ‘substance’ is in fact the ‘style’, such as hairdressing or fashion.
Performance Lessons from Glam Rock
So, where did Glam Rock acts place their emphasis? In the performance of course. Slade come on stage as if it’s already over and move on from that point. Is business a performance? Well, to some extent it is. The academic Henry Mintzberg drew parallels between business, theatre and performance and clearly it’s important to make an impact, especially in today’s crowded market.
HR Lessons from Glam Rock
Glam Rock above all else developed the idea of having separate personalities within the band, to relate to the different fans (customer) needs. In Slade, Noddy appealed to the guys, Dave Hill the girls and so on. The Spice Girls took this to the ultimate end point by naming the members to suggest the market segment they were to appeal to – Posh Spice, Sporty Spice etc. Finally, we must go to the main Glam attractions for some soul food:
About the Blogger: Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org