Going Retro

I was listening to REM’s newest CD (which is excellent, by the way) and was struck by some of the acid-rock-influenced tracks. That reminded me of the 70s influence throughout Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky from last year. Some of you out there might say that you should expect as much from 40-ish rockers. Maybe. But I would point you to Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse—both less than a quarter century old—whose music is highly reminiscent of 60s soul. Or nearly every hip hop artist and rapper that samples music from decades past.

In fact, when you talk to any artist, he’ll mention other artists that came before as influences.

So what does that have to do with brand management? Well, everything.

The fundamentals of managing a brand—creating a great product, delivering on your promise, connecting with customers, etc.—hasn’t changed. What has is how we apply our thinking, and technology, to better executing on those fundamentals.

The best way to drive your brand’s growth, and your acumen, is to study the brands that have come before, learn from their mistakes and emulate what they did well.

Retro doesn’t just have to be about shag carpets and flower power. It should, however, be about what helped make them popular in the first place.

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