Black Sabbath. Iron Maiden. Metallica. Nirvana. Disturbed. Like or hate their music, there's no denying that these heavy metal bands made a huge impact in their prime and continue to be relevant in their industry even years after their peak.
Fortunately, you don't have to grow your hair out and wear backless leather chaps on stage to promote your business like a heavy metal powerhouse. All you have to do is take a few pages out of their playbook with these six tips.
1. Chase your passion. No chart-topping metal acts got there because they sort of liked loud music and figured it was a good career move. They got there by loving heavy metal, practicing heavy metal and playing heavy metal for years in cheap clubs where they were more likely to catch a pool cue upside the head than land a record deal. If you're doing something you love that much, you will have an advantage over everybody who's just punching the clock.
2. Never apologize for being who or what you are. Despite hand-wringing editorials and parental groups decrying the lyrics, metal stars never apologized for being metal stars. They would apologize for legitimately crossing their own lines—like Ozzy did after the famous "bat incident"—and so should you. If somebody doesn't like that you do what you do, you're better off politely pointing out why they should be shopping somewhere else.
3. Serve your biggest fans. You may not have one, but I bet you've seen at least one tattoo of a heavy metal band's name or icon on somebody else's body. How would you like a fan of your business to love you that much? Metal bands get that kind of loyalty by understanding what their fans want, and putting that understanding into their music (product), public appearances (publicity) and face-to-face time (service).
4. Make some noise. Heavy metal, rap and all the other controversial music genres get half their publicity from their detractors ... and we all know that no publicity is bad publicity. We're not recommending that you go out and throw tantrums on a plane, but if you can pick a polite fight on social media or in the local news—a disagreement about something relevant to your business—that noise is bound to attract attention. Some of those people will start watching you and your business, and will eventually buy from you.
5. Have fun. Watch a heavy metal act on stage. If you're not a fan, do it via the safety of YouTube. Those people are having fun. They're not only having fun themselves, but they're working hard to share that fun with crowds of hundreds or even thousands of people. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, consider opening a different business. If you are enjoying it, spend energy to help your customers and employees enjoy it, too.
6. Do what you do best. Metal fans know this story all too well. It happens to most bands that stay big long enough, but we'll use Metallica as an example. In 1989, their album (remember albums?) ...And Justice for All was nominated for a Grammy award, and the premier track from that album,"One," won a Grammy that year. The album was the culmination of the styles and evolution from three previous albums, and fans loved it. But their next album was a complete departure from their previous style, and fans were just never as passionate about the band again. Although you should always be open to new opportunities, it pays to remember the core of what you do and to keep doing it to the best of your ability.
Read more articles on company culture.
What hard-rocking lessons have you learned from business or from your favorite bands? Tell us about them in the comments below.
Jason Brick has contributed more than 2,000 blog and magazine articles to local, regional and national publications and speaks regularly at writing and business conferences. You can find out more about Jason at www.brickcommajason.com.
Photo: Kevin Nixon/Getty Images