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“Rock music is important to people because it allows them to escape this crazy world. It allows them not to run away from the problems... but to face up to them, but at the same time sort of dance all over them. That’s what rock and roll is about.” ~ Pete Townshend of The Who.

My life’s most unforgettable experiences have been linked closely to the world of rock and roll music. 25 years before founding Social Catalyzers, I became closely involved with the Rock Street Journal (RSJ), the defining rock music magazine for a generation of rockers in 1990s and early 2000s. Here are a few timeless tunes that continue to stay relevant, and meaningful till date.

When David Coverdale from Whitesnake belted out... “..And here I go again on my own, Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known. Like a hobo, I was born to walk alone. An’ I’ve made up my mind I ain’t wasting no more time,” this could very well be the theme song of my entrepreneurial journey. As entrepreneurs, we recognise that every day brings new problems and challenges. Just humming this song is my remedy for dealing with daily hitches calmly and effectively. The genre of rock and roll teaches optimism, passion and brings an “everything’s gonna be alright” attitude in times of crisis.

People bond over shared tastes, and my life in this genre of music has helped me connect with people beyond work. Even a phone ringtone or caller tune can be the perfect conversation starter, as it happened recently when I called a prospective client and heard Sweet Home Alabama. Our conversation quickly shifted to the 90s music scene in India and my experiences with RSJ, creating an instant bonhomie in what would otherwise have been just another cold corporate conversation.

Though overplayed, the progression and sophistication of a classic rock song is remarkable; and this song by Queen has taught me an all-important life lesson: innovation is a by-product of passion and commitment. Whether we are leading a band or an agency, we must tirelessly explore and push boundaries. To build a brand that lasts for generations, we must constantly look for new ways to bring in new listeners/customers. We cannot revel in past successes; and as marketers we cannot keep creating minor riffs on the same old content. Keep exploring.

An important lesson from the world of rock and roll is how to build highly motivated, and high-performing teams who bond and build together in tandem. This is best seen in the four members of The Beatles, who were outstanding musicians in their own right, but creatively and collectively brought out the best in each other. The Eagles also come to mind as an excellent example of this.

Like all great rock bands, we marketers ought to perform just as loud for the fans standing in the farthest corner. In the immortal words of Spinal Tap, “Most blokes play at ten. It’s all the way up, and they’re playing at ten. Where can you go from there? Nowhere…if we need that extra push off the cliff, we go up to eleven.”

As marketers, we must find ways to optimally distribute messaging so that it gets in front of as much of our targeted audiences as possible. Merely writing a great song or creating an awesome film isn’t going to do anyone any good if it isn’t heard or seen by the people it was created for.

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