We’re all in show business

Eric Garland Business Trends Leave a Comment

I frequently describe myself as “a professional bassist whose hobbies include competitive intelligence and strategic trend analysis.” That may sound unusually humble (or weird) if you read this blog much, but it’s probably accurate. I’ve been playing bass for money for 24 years, and it has been the most consistent factor in my income throughout my life. I’ve worked f0r Kentucky Fried Chicken and for the Principality of Monaco and bass has been my “other” job all along.

In my thinking, they’re just gigs. One day you’re playing “Brick House” at a wedding, one day you’re talking about demographic trends for a group of executives. In a way, it’s all just a show.

This guy Adrian Blake takes it a step further and says that we’re all in show business now.

We all are in show business now.  As David Meerman Scott says “Any property that successfully aggregates an audience through content is a media company. “  That’s what we’re doing, so it makes sense to look at how Media & Entertainment companies have done it over the years.

A few lessons from show business that we all need to learn:

  • Be distinctive.  Narrow and deep beats big and general.  It’s very hard to please everybody.

  • Be where your audience is.  Don’t ask them to use formats or platforms they don’t like.

  • Reformat.  When you take your content to a new segment, recut it to suit local needs.

  • Sequels and Franchises work, but only for a while.  You will lose the trust of the audience if you milk your ideas too hard.

  • It’s all about talent.  Some people have more star power than others.

  • Word of mouth matters.  You want people telling their friends about how good your stuff is.

  • Scheduling matters.  Don’t release your big movie the same day your rival releases their big movie.

  • Storytelling wins.  Study everything Pixar does.

  • Guest stars can get people to check you out.  Borrow audiences where you can.

  • The money’s in the publishing/syndication.  It’s a hit-driven business, so you need a big portfolio.  The big hits make up for the misfires.

  • Service the superfans.  Star Trek made fountains of money for Paramount, and that money wasn’t coming from the cool kids.

  • Promote your stars.  Don’t be afraid to talk about how good you are.

  • Good artists borrow; Great artists steal.  There are no original ideas.  Just good execution.

One more suggestion: Get some shiny pants. Those go great on stage.