Thursday, September 28, 2017

What I Learned About Business from Garth Brooks

This past Saturday, hubby Mike and I road-tripped to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for Garth Brooks’ evening performance at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.  This was my eighth time (in my fifth state!) seeing Garth live, but the night was just as magical as ever.  Garth has a way of making his entire audience forget the outside world and welcoming them into his club for the night, and this has to be part of his unparalleled success in the music industry and his ability to sell out crowd after crowd, year after year
For this show, Mike scored some incredible tickets in third row center, close enough to make eye contact with the big man himself a couple times, and to watch as my neighbors fist-bumped and high-fived him at various points in the evening.  This vantage point gave me a new glimpse into Garth’s world, and gave me a few ideas about how businesses might take a lesson from Garth to boost their own success:

  1. Play to Your Audience.  Garth uses his whole stage well, and does his best to acknowledge every person in the crowd, spending his entire show pointing, waving, and nodding to people, whether up close or in the rafters.  He speaks to the crowd often, gets emotional with them, and genuinely thanks them.  Whether a fan or a customer, you feel more loyal and engaged (and more likely to return) if you feel acknowledged.
  2. Value Your Team.  Garth makes a huge point of introducing each of his band members with a long yet personal bio, and noting their tenure with him (the shortest of which, I believe, was about 20 years).  Appreciation for your team goes a long way!
  3. Remember Even Your Smallest Customer.  As I sat waiting for the concert to begin, I watched as the two rows in front of me gradually filled in with bewildered people wearing colorful wristbands.  Garth is well-known for surprising fans in nosebleed seats with last-minute, front row tickets; these had to be those lucky fans.  I bet those people are guaranteed fans for life now!  Remember that even the “little guy” has a lifetime value, and $70 spent one day might translate to thousands over a lifetime.
  4. Act the Part, and They will Follow.  Garth could easily stand on stage, sing his songs, and still sell out shows, but he goes way beyond this in order to engage his audience.  He acts the part of the star he is, and the crowd goes WILD.  He is both cheesy and humble to a fault, equal parts jumping around cheering, and bowing while shaking his head, but it just evokes an even larger response from his fans.  If you want to be a top business, a creative entrepreneur, an enthusiastic leader – act the part, believe it, and your customers will believe it, too.
  5. Exceed Expectations.  On Saturday, after playing a full, energetic and probably exhausting set, Garth returned –as he always does – for an audience-demanded encore.  But he didn’t stop at one or two songs; he played at least seven that I can remember, including an acapella serenade for one fan and a few unexpected covers, finally culminating in the most explosive performance of the night with hydraulics and light effects.  We could have walked away happy with simply the purchase we expected – a full Garth concert – but he went above and beyond to create great value and make us feel like we’d gotten the deal of a lifetime.
  6. Keep it Fresh.  Finally, Garth has dozens upon dozens of hit songs – the “old stuff,” as he says.  He could certainly continue selling out arenas and make a grand living on only those.  But he doesn’t.  He continues to make the risky move of releasing new music and incorporating it into his performances – just a couple new songs each performance – but it keeps fans on their toes, gives us something new to experience at each concert, and gives his own enterprise room for potential growth.  We need to act as fearlessly in our own businesses, trying new ideas, products, and selling avenues, in order to continue to grow.

We may not be multi-platinum artists with bank accounts to match, but it doesn’t mean we can’t employ these same principles to better our businesses.  Who knows how far simple actions may lead?  Even Garth Brooks started somewhere.

1 comment :

  1. Super creative article with such insightful and practical advice!