It seems there are three aspects that drive long term success. Those three aspects are clearly expressed in Jim Collins book ‘Good to Great’. The Hedgehog Concept is the core of attracting and retaining customers. At its core, the Hedgehog concept is very simple. Be Authentic, Be Great, and Be Compensated.
How do some artists retain and attract fans while others are merely a flash in a pan? The first piece is authenticity. Those artists who are genre defining standards of performance are authentic. They create music they enjoy. They don’t follow an established popular formula; they are who they want to be and pursue it now matter. The one hit wonder generally capitalizes on a trend, and once the trend shifts, they are left behind.
Why do some artists reel off album after album while others crush one album, and the follow ups languish in shelves? Skill. Greatness. Sometimes things just come together, the stars align, and the music and lyrics gel to create one great song. Sometimes the artist has such skill and vision they make the stars align, the right music finds the lyrics for them, and they create piece after piece that speak to their fans. Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, and Prince are some of the prime examples of this. Artists like Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffet accomplished very similar things in a very different way, while the former often shifted and flexed styles yet still connected with their core audience the latter did not, they stuck to absolutes of their music and attracted fans across genre lines.
For example, Vanilla Ice versus Eminem, or Sir Mix-a-lot verse Ice Cube in the context of rap music. Two of the mentioned artists are still household names while the other two are lucky to be mentioned in passing. All four artists were hot and relevant in their time, yet two moved beyond the moment and two did not.
The last aspect of the Hedgehog is getting compensated. It’s not about getting paid one time, but creating a long term sustainable income stream for the effort put forth. All too often the focus for compensation is solely short term, getting paid now with no thought to next year or the next decade.
Phase one of the transition from being sampled to being a brand a choice is “Know your Hedgehog”. It is impossible to building a following and advocates without first knowing who or what the brand is to the public.
NEXT … BFF’s
Every company needs to understand who they are before they can expect their customers and the populace in general to understand their identity. Once identity is established, it is time to gain attention.
In the 21st century Attention is the heart-blood of every viable and successful brand on the planet. No matter the size of the body supported they all live and die by the attention of the marketplace. How does a new company without a track record break through the never-ending story of branding messages?