Last night I was the lucky recipient of a last-minute ticket to see AC/DC play in Sydney. As expected, the concert was great, but I couldn’t help noticing what that this aging band are also amazing marketers.
Here’s what AC/DC do that many businesses should try to emulate:
Know your niche. AC/DC are an out-and-out rock band, always have been. Its been said they’ve made the same album 13 times. No ballads, no tricky experiments, just good old-fashioned hard rock. They’ve stayed the same over 4 decades, ignoring trends and doing what they do best. They know their place in the market and don’t deviate.
Manage your brand. AC/DC have a great brand. Its evident in everything they do and everyone knows what the brand stands for – cheeky fun entertainment. They use iconic imagery to reinforce the brand message. The school uniform, the cheeky devil horns, the giant bell (Hells Bells).
Give the audience exactly what they want. Rather than make their fans sit through all “the new stuff” like many bands do, AC/DC know that everyone wants to hear the big hits. They deliver them with enthusiasm that belies their near-pension age and the fans go nuts.
Over deliver. We’ve all been to gigs where the band did the bare minimum. Turn up, play, walk off. AC/DC promises a big show, then deliver in spades. 2 hours of spectacle that made the massive Olympic Stadium seem intimate. Cannons, an oversized train, funny animated videos, a 40 foot blow up doll called Rosie and a seemingly endless guitar solo from fan-favourite Angus Young. Everyone seemed to leave very happy despite paying an average of $150 a ticket.
Create multiple revenue streams. Ticket sales, record sales, merchandise, programs. The band was raking it in from all directions.
Provide customers with multiple opportunities to make a purchase. From the time you approach the stadium you are given every opportunity to part ways with your cash. Programs, t-shirts, flashing red devil horns and more. Merchandise stations were set up everywhere. The devil horns actually added to the atmosphere with tens of thousands of them glowing in the dark.
Control your PR. AC/DC rarely give interviews, and do so mainly when they’re touring or launching an album. Otherwise you never hear anything from them or about them. No crises, no political affiliations. They’re always 100% on-message with their media appearances – cheeky fun entertainment – nothing else.
Work hard. While they are canny marketers, AC/DC also work hard for the money. They put on a big show, as part of an 18 month World tour. They leave nothing in the tank. Their fans know it and appreciate it.
Many businesses could learn a lot from these old, unfashionable rockers.