Pop musician Taylor Swift has come out with a piece for the Wall Street Journal about the music industry and where it is heading.
The piece left me drawing parallels between the relationship musicians form with their fans and the relationship business brand form with their customers.
In her musings about how social media and the Internet are impacting the music industry, she noted that the one thing that hasn’t changed is the significance of forming a long-lasting bond with your fans:
“There are always going to be those artists who break through on an emotional level and end up in people’s lives forever. The way I see it, fans view music the way they view their relationships… some artists will be like finding ‘the one’. We will cherish every album they put out until they retire and we will play their music for our children and grandchildren. As an artist, this is the dream bond we hope to establish with our fans. I think the future still holds the possibility for this kind of bond, the one my father has with the Beach Boys and the one my mother has with Carly Simon.”
As a brand, this is exactly what you would want to achieve. You want to be ‘the one’ for your customers. You want your customers to cherish every product you put out on the market (Think Apple). You want that bond and love for your brand to be passed on to their family and friends by turning your customers into advocates for your brand.
How to get your customers to fall in love with your brand
Taylor Swift describes how artists achieve this lifelong bond with fans by striking an emotional chord and making fans feel like they understand them and can relate to them:
“There are always going to be those artists who break through on an emotional level and end up in people’s lives forever. They are buying only the [albums] that hit them like an arrow through the heart or have made them feel strong or allowed them to feel like they really aren’t alone in feeling so alone.”
She gives a simple tip on how to form a long-lasting bond: Provide them with the element of surprise. Delight them and leave them in awe.
“I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise. No, I did not say ‘shock’; I said ‘surprise’. I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can’t this love affair exist between an artist and their fans?
We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe. I hope the next generation’s artists will continue to think of inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes, as challenging as that might be.”
How to delight your customers in 3 easy steps
Delighting customers is much easier than you may think. All it takes is a show of compassion and, if appropriate, a sense of humor. Simply put, make your brand ‘human’, or in some cases, humane, and show them that you actually really do care. How?
- Give your employees the authority to make the concessions and bend the rules when necessary.
- Allow them to use their own personal judgment and creativity to delight your customers and win them over.
- Instill a culture of caring for the customer and surpassing their expectations when possible.
Here’s a link to ten great examples of companies that have let their employees do just that. Be forewarned, however, you may shed a tear or two, so grab some tissues.
Say what you will about Taylor Swift as a musician, artist or celebrity, but in this case there’s no denying her thoughts on the future of the music industry are quite thought provoking and revealing. And there are a few parallels that can be drawn between artists and their fans and brands and their customers. Do you agree?
You can read Tyler Swift’s op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal right here in its entirety.