I recently released a tongue in cheek hard rock song for hard times and the hard road to recovery entitled “Fiscal Cliff”. It’s the first ever rock song to feature words from your Economics’ Teacher, such as Derivatives, Sub Prime, Northern Rock etc. in the lyrics …
Fiscal Cliff tells a story of gloom, doom, enlightenment and salvation in 3 minutes and 24 seconds, via a broker who decides to end it all, due to his feelings about his part in the recession. He has a chat with the “God of Economics” in the middle of the song and repents in a rather surprising happy ending! Dr Andrew Sentence CBE, former Monetary Policy Committee Member at the Bank of England comments:
“Fiscal Cliff follows in the tradition of other rock songs inspired by the economy, like “Money” by Pink Floyd and “Selling England by the Pound” by Genesis. But it’s the first rock song I’ve heard mentioning Quantitative Easing and John Maynard Keynes!”
To get a flavour of the song, take a look at Fiscal Cliff – The MOVIE, featuring Bernie Tormé, ace guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Gillan.
You can download a copy of Fiscal Cliff by clicking the link to iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and all other formats
In less than a week, Fiscal Cliff has featured in The Evening Standard, City am and will soon appear on the BBC Worldwide flagship business programme. Not bad for a micro business with no PR or agent! As I write this, there is a fair chance that the song will reach the charts. Fiscal Cliff may also be banned in the Mid West of America by the evangelical Christian movement. On the other side of the pond, the song has been sent to Simon Cowell by a personal friend of his. This of course may further enrage the evangelists …
There are many transferable lessons for entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to launch their own products / services and businesses by using PR, marketing and social media.
Here’s seven of the best:
1. Sticky like glue
“Stickiness” in viral marketing terms refers to how well your idea becomes attached to people. In the case of the song, we achieved a certain level of stickiness through the clever use of words in the song lyrics, the use of an illustrator who produced a storyboard for the song. Simon Heath is himself a Merchant Banker cum corporate illustrator, so he has quite literally jumped the Fiscal Cliff. Here’s a sample of his work. Shortly we’re taking him to New York to run an innovation summit for a major pharmaceutical company.
2. Keep it simple
We made sure it was easy to spread the ideavirus. Nearly every place where we placed the song we made sure it took just one click to get access. This is vital for busy people or those who will migrate if it’s difficult to get hold of your stuff quickly. It’s what I call the “I want it all, I want it now” culture, after the Queen song of the same name.
3. Preparation and Perspiration are key
I’m rather fond of saying, “you just need a bit of luck to get into the media with your work”. I was sharply and rightly pulled up this morning by a good friend, who pointed out that I had laid the foundations for this over many years through connecting with people, ‘paying it forward’ by creating value for them and understanding their needs and interests. Chance really does favour the prepared mind. You simply cannot expect people to do things for you on social media if you have not been social with them!
4. Multi-Marketing Channels
To get your idea out into the market place requires an excellent press release, which we wrote, gaining us a piece in The London Evening Standard within 3 days of release of the song and further publicity nationally, internationally and locally. However, a press release is not sufficient. You need multi-channel communications to get your message out there and a variation in the message to engage different communities and groups. If you are not a professional PR person, you need something exceptional to get a space in national media for your work. Journalists are very busy people, so again you must serve it up in ways that help them grasp the idea in seconds. This is especially important if your innovation is complex.
Compared with 30 years ago, when you only had one choice when buying a record i.e. the record shop, the arrival of digital music means that it’s actually harder to sell your music due to the different platforms available. Some people want it on iTunes, others Google Play and so on. Your music must be available on all these platforms if you want to succeed in going viral. So it is also true that your innovations must be available on all relevant platforms if you want to build a hive of interest.
6. Ask for help
Ask people to help you – you are not an island. In our case, we had a Facebook launch day and a host of other events where we asked people to help us in smaller or larger ways, ranging from simply sharing the video through to buying the song, writing reviews, blogging and so on. I’ve had the good fortune of people simply going ahead and telling all kinds of people about the song and the film. I like to work on the basis of ‘seek forgiveness, not permission’ and this helps people to ‘just do it’. If you are the kind of person that wants to control all the messages that are sent out about you and your business, then social media and viral marketing are not for you.
7. Profit from the unexpected
Having a plan is one thing but accidents happen and your response to those accidents is crucial. We discovered by accident that some people in the Mid West were averse to our cheeky adaptation of “The Lord’s Prayer according to economics”, so it seemed sensible to engage with this group via Twitter and other channels to address their issues and concerns. Getting banned is one possible outcome from such activity and we are getting ready for this possibility after we release “Fiscal Cliff – The Exorcist Mix”.
So, here are the 7 critical transferable lessons from this experience of a lifetime:
1. Make your message sticky
2. Be brief and simple, especially on social media
3. Chance favours the prepared mind
4. Use multiple communication channels to reach your target audiences
5. Make your innovation available on all platforms relevant to your market
6. Get people to help you, especially if you are running a small enterprise
7. Have a plan but be prepared and able to respond to surprises
Stay updated with progress towards No. 1 via our slideshare deck:
image credits: academy-of-rock.co.uk; illustrations by Simon Heath, corporate illustrator
Wait! Before you go.
Choose how you want the latest innovation content delivered to you:
- Daily — RSS Feed — Email — Twitter — Facebook — Linkedin Today
- Weekly — Email Newsletter — Free Magazine — Linkedin Group
Peter Cook is a business academic, author, consultant and musician. He leads Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock, and provides Keynote speaking, Organisational Development and Business Coaching. You can follow him on twitter @Academyofrock. Peter is Rock ‘n’ Roll Innovation Editor at Innovation Excellence.