The Greatest Story Ever Told - Real Estate Branding.

Real Estate Agent with 1st Action Real Estate
10/9 brand dead
Marc Davison of 1000WattConsulting has posted an article over at Inman News that's a must-read. Entitled 'The Greatest Story Ever Told', Davison provides great advice to Realtors on successful brand building using lessons taught by none other than The Grateful Dead.

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.

slowYears 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.

ballHow 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.

And when you're done with the hard news posts of the day, stop on over to the Musical Rainers Group. It's not just for Deadheads. dh

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Comments 12 New Comment

Jon Wnoroski
Summit County Realtor
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc.

Great article.  I am always interested in learning more about the "key" to successful marketing and branding.  Thank you for sharing your information.

October 10, 2008 08:02 AM
Gene Wunderlich
Realtor & Legislative Liaison
1st Action Real Estate

Louis - I will check that out. I really enjoyed this article and plan to check back in as he writes like I like to read. You don't necessarily have to be a Deadhead to appreciate what they did not only in terms of their music ability but how they conducted their business and life. True, there were some elements that were not beneficial - at least in the early days, but their impact on music and business has been vastly underrated.

They were also ahead of their time contributing to causes like the Rainforest Coalition, the preservation of indigenous world music and the climate. They always passed out little stickers that read 'Remember - Deadheads leave only footprints.' I've still got mine.

October 10, 2008 08:07 AM
Louis Cammarosano
Smaulgld LLC


One thing that also is amazing about the dead's marketing triumph is they did it without facebook, twitter, or even email.

They used mailing lists (the band had their own and fans interconnected with each other through their own lists) The meetings in real life keep the bond between the fans as the Dead toured incessently providing fans a forum to meet regularly.

WHile we have better tools of communication at our disposal today, they are not a substitute for the real life meetings, nor are they a substitute for great content (something the dead had)

October 10, 2008 08:14 AM
Gene Wunderlich
Realtor & Legislative Liaison
1st Action Real Estate

Louis - absolutely right. Too many people substitute impersonal contact and 3rd party content for the real thing and are dismayed to find that it isn't working out for them. Technology is a great tool but we still have to work the basics if we want to excel. When this bank run is over, the agents who have used the time to work on their game will be well positioned to succeed.

October 14, 2008 06:15 PM
Craig Rutman
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor
Helping people in transition


Terrific post!

I love it when the GD are referenced in a positive light like this.

Like it or not people, the Dead are part of the American culture and succeeded long before the Internet or MTV with one simple premise: Customer Service!

fun with photoshop

October 15, 2008 09:56 AM

Gene Wunderlich

Realtor & Legislative Liaison
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