Yep, that's right. Using song titles for paragraph headings, Davison steps through a series of valuable lessons on Brand Dead meant to illustrate that every decision the band made was driven by an attention to the customer that is increasingly rare in this, or any other industry.
Years ago, in another life, I worked for a Fortune 500 company and did a series of management presentations based on The Grateful Dead. Many of the bigwigs took a dim view of the series just as they did of the band. They viewed them as just another drug addles bunch of musicians who surely didn't have anything relevant to say to a group of 'successful' business leaders like themselves. That company is out of business today, less than 20 years later, because they ignored those very principles which the Dead so aptly employed, which contributed to the fact that The Dead was the perennial leader among touring bands in attendance and income right up until the day of Jerry's last concert. Without significant radio play, with virtually no #1 Billboard hits and with a non-existent advertising budget, pre-YouTube & internet, they were the top touring band in America for over 2 decades.
How did they do it? They focused on their customer with a laser beam (literally & figuratively). Every decision they made was based on what was best for their customer. From venue selection to sound quality, from ticket prices to set selection, the customer was first. Frequent customers got 1st shot at tickets. Merchandising was systematic but also very flexible, providing opportunities for fgellow travelers. Anathema to the music industry to this day, The Dead also encouraged 'tapers', fans to set up and record their live music and to freely exchange it, extending the reach of their brand even further. And far from dampening record sales and concert attendance, it led to a customer devotion and loyalty that borders on the extreme to this day.
What efforts weren't focused on their customer was spent on their employees. They encouraged an entourage of roadies to bring their families along and provided educational opportunities, comprehensive health care and well above standard compensation even during non-concert times - which lead to a cadre of employees who would walk through fire for the band, stuck by them in good times and bad and whose loyalty and deadication to The Dead's customers matched that of the band. The phrase 'There's no experience like a Grateful Dead Show' was not just about the music but about the entire vibe - the music, the atmosphere, the experience. It didn't happen by accident.
So if you get a chance, stop on by and check out Marc's article. It's well done, concise and an accurate portrayal of someone building a very successful brand based on customer service. We could all use a little refresher in that department today.