Have you ever heard of the song, Heard It Through The Grapevine, by Marvin Gaye, or Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder? Did you grow up listening to the lyrics of The Jackson 5, The Miracles and Smokey Robinson? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re familiar with how important it is for your business to create a sustainable advantage. Berry Gordy Jr. is the founder of Motown, an all black music label that took the world by storm in the 1960s. Berry Gordy didn’t just make music; he created magic by producing hit after hit. By doing this, he created a pop-culture phenomenon that changed the direction of posterity, and thus created an iconic brand that will live on forever. Can you do the same thing? Here are a couple of ideas on how to build a sustainable advantage.
You need to have a working formula
Berry Gordy got much of his inspiration from working in a factory. He was fascinated with the machinery, the formations, and the efficiency of mass production. With just $800 in his pocket, he decided to start his first business, The Tamla Road Company. What was his motivation for starting this company? He simply wanted to make more money than what he was earning as a factory worker. Berry Gordy signed young and talented artist to his record label. Then, he sampled the music repeatedly, until he was able to find patterns that produced hits. With these patterns he then crafted a formula that enabled him to create the same sound over and over again, with different artist given it a slightly different feel. By doing this, he was able to form a memorable experience.
Lesson one: You’ve got to create a memorable experience
While businesses work purely on logic, marketing is strictly emotional. Fortunately, there isn’t a shortage of goods and services in the United States. This means that people need to feel compelled to buy products or services that they don’t really need. So marketers need to allure consumers by invoking powerful emotions that will compel them to buy. Berry Gordy wrote lyrics and created music that appealed to the consumer’s emotions. I Want You Back, by the Jackson 5 reminded us of the one person we let slip away. You Really Got a Hold On Me by Smokey Robinson was probably played at hundreds of weddings. Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground provided the motivation that we needed to get through the tough patches in life. In summary, Berry Gordy wrote lyrics that allowed people to create their own experience. The music of Motown still lives on today, partly because people can relieve the experience they created over and over again just by listening to the music. Does your brand do the same thing?
Lesson two: You’ve got to follow trends
Motown started making music during one of the most tumultuous periods in history. The United States was enduring one of its most horrific wars, segregation and battling Jim Crow Laws. This was a different war that didn’t consist of guns and tanks. Rather, it consisted of peacekeeping protests, non-violent sit-ins, and rallies. Berry Gordy sought to keep the peace by calling Motown, “The Sound of Young America”. He diligently worked to expand his brand to a larger audience. He even put his artist through the development program to make them more refined and structured. When they were finally pictured on album covers or featured on television shows, they were classy, glamorous, and charming. Motown’s artist, both black and white, helped to debunk many of the awful stereotypes about race and the need for segregation in the United States. Motown was then viewed as an agent of peace and hailed respect from US citizens of every race, and form every corner of the world. Berry Gordy, a long time friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. even released the I Have A Dream Speech through his record label called Black Forum.
Lesson three: You’ve got to look out for bottlenecks in your automated system
Like many companies, many of the things that made Motown great made it fail. Integration along with new technology created fierce competition in the music industry. While Motown stayed true to their formula, artist started to become agitated with the limited amount of creative freedom they were given.
Although Berry Gordy worked hard to promote a work environment that fostered freedom and creativity, artist such as Michael Jackson began to flock to other labels where they could experiment and reinvent themselves. Furthermore, artist with other labels weren’t just making money selling albums and playing in concerts. They were getting paid endorsement and movie deals. Although Berry Gordy later moved into television and movies, his transition was too late. His competitors had already seized up a great deal of the market share. The value of this lesson is that you have to find the bottlenecks before they cause your whole system to implode. Berry Gordy failed to respond to trends and transforms with the times, because of this, Motown no longer exist.
Lesson four: Learn how to build a sustainable advantage?
First, you need to be like Berry Gordy, you need to believe in yourself. Secondly, you need to understand that branding, marketing, and sales are all about creating a memorable experience. People buy simply because they want to feel good. Thirdly, you need to find patterns in your marketing systems. By finding patterns, you will be able to create formulas that will enable you to crank out winning campaigns over and over again. Lastly, you’ve got to find your stars. Do you have a person with Michael Jackson talent and potential in your group? If so, nurture him or her. Make him feel valued and give her the freedom that she needs to thrive and grow. I would love to help you in anyway that I can. Just sign up to my email list and receive more great tips and advice at no additional cost to you. Also, feel free to sign up for a consultation. I offer a 100% money back guarantee. So if I can help you build a better business, you can ask for you money back, no questions ask. I certainly hope this information was helpful. Hopefully soon, we will meet face to face.