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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Brands can learn a lot from Rolling Stones and its loyal fan base

The bad boy persona has become so synonymous with The Rolling Stones that age no longer can keep up with them

Mathures Paul Published 10.09.23, 09:20 AM
Rolling Stones band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood attend a launch event for their new album Hackney Diamonds, at Hackney Empire in London

Rolling Stones band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood attend a launch event for their new album Hackney Diamonds, at Hackney Empire in London Picture: Reuters

The bad boy persona has become so synonymous with The Rolling Stones that age no longer can keep up with them. As the group pumped out their first single — Angry — from their forthcoming album, Hackney Diamonds, last week, one can’t help but think of them as rock-and-roll equivalence of landed gentry. They live on the edge and it’s too late to change the boys.

There is a lot that brands can learn from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood (too bad Charlie Watts joined the great gig in the sky in 2021). The band has always enjoyed unconventional sex appeal, has delivered anthems for baby boomers (think Satisfaction) and they continue to offer a unique live experience that people will spend big bucks on.

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All Fired Up

On the latest single, Jagger is at his entertaining best, showcasing what rock stars have always been pissed off about — their partners and mundane life. He mouths words that anyone can relate to: Please just forget about me/ Cancel out my name/ Please never write to me/ I love you just the same. And then the 80-year-old switches gears, speeding in with his complaints about not having sex in a month (It hasn’t rained in a month): Don’t be angry with me/ I’m still taking the pills and I’m off to Brazil. Sheer rock ’n’ roll, of the classic kind… stuff that has made Start Me Up and Gimme Shelter classics. The three men retain their fire-in-the-belly enthusiasm.As the trio appeared at Hackney Empire theatre, east London, last week to chat with Jimmy Fallon, announcing the new single, they were in top form. Jagger, as usual, did his moves, appearing in a black brocade jacket while Keith retained his subtle sense of humour. And Ronnie went with the flow.Sure, it took them 18 years to release a new album, containing original songs but it has been worth the wait. Journalists in the West who had a chance to listen to the album at a special session (though they cannot post reviews till October) are jumping on an imaginary trampoline. Perhaps this is the last time we get to hear a wild Rolling Stones album or maybe they will once again deliver after another 18 years but one thing’s for sure, they don’t care about recliner chairs.“We did it pretty quick. There were a lot of ideas floating about and we gathered them together just before Christmas,” Jagger said. The album was recorded and mixed by Valentine’s Day.Hackney Diamonds will feature Paul McCartney playing bass on one track as well as the band’s touring drummer Steve Jordan and a few recordings made with Charlie before his death.

Brands Can Learn From This Band

Sydney Sweeney in Rolling Stones' video for their new song, Angry

Sydney Sweeney in Rolling Stones' video for their new song, Angry Picture: Marcus Haney

A bigger question is what makes Rolling Stones so relevant in 2023 as it was in the 1960s? It all comes down to brand identity. Here’s the deal: Elvis Presley died in 1977 but brand Presley lives on, influencing generations of musicians.Companies can look at a band like the Rolling Stones for ideas and strategies. The band has always enjoyed loyalty, which a brand needs to live on beyond a few products. The world has changed drastically in the six decades they have been around, yet they are accepted by cultures around the world. Can a brand boast of that? Their appeal lies with people who believe in zest for life and the importance of leading an uncomplicated life… these are people who say it as they see it. In other words, the Stones know their market segment. Profits? The Stones are a well-oiled machine as Jagger’s hips continue to move vigorously. Consider this: Mick is 80, Keith is 79 and Ronnie is 76. Yet, they can give Beckham a run for his bends at age 48 or US president Joe Biden (he too is 80) a lesson in keeping it cool.

Be it their lyrics or rhythms, it reverberates with generations. Think of another band who knew how to keep things together — Queen. They played stadium rock, which offers more energy boost than caffeine. Sadly, Freddie Mercury had to leave the building in an untimely fashion. The Stones too have an emotional bonding with the audience. And if the emotional bonding is spread across a large group of people, it becomes an integral part of a culture. Paul McCartney is a legend but when you are at Macca’s concert, you expect a few Beatles numbers, some Wings hits because you have an emotional attachment to those classics.

The vibes of the new Rolling Stones song are in the same spirit as some of the songs on the 1978 album, Some Girls. When they push their new songs into their hit-machine setlist, it will gel; the audience won’t feel detached. Keith’s guitar riffs continue to be exceptional enough to keep the band’s momentum going. Sure, they have experimented with their sound several times over the decades but that bluesy riff remains the cornerstone and it delivers wild vibes and wilder profits.

Most consider Rolling Stones to be one of the greatest — if not the greatest — rock ’n’ roll band. The phrase “rock ’n’ roll” was originally a euphemism for sexual intercourse but in 1954 it was used by the American DJ Alan Freed to describe a musical style. Times have changed and so has the definition of rock ’n’ roll but young bands are still eager to call themselves, well, “rock ’n’ roll” bands. It’s a kind of music that’s here to stay. As for the Stones, they continue to roll, energizing people, irrespective of age. They represent what we secretly long for — agelessness.

Brand Lessons To Learn From The Stones

The iconic tongue and lips logo of the Rolling Stones

The iconic tongue and lips logo of the Rolling Stones

** Offer a brand experience

** Don’t deviate from emotional roots

** Blend energy and mission

** Influence culture over decades

** Become a global tongue

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