It’s TunesDay and I gave a lot of thought to our musical choice this week. I don’t know yet (we’ll see how this comes out) if it’s a good pick but the song that has been with me most of the week comes to us via the end of the 1980’s (1989 specifically) and my second favorite band from Athens, Georgia (R.E.M. would be #1): the B52’s.  Over the years this band has produced many serious pieces of ear candy but this is one of my favorites.  Turns out it has something to say about business too:

This song is catchy with a great beat, the chorus stays with you, and it’s easy on the ears.  That’s a tiny, obvious business point – the product needs to be appealing.  That’s where the simple stuff ends.

The B52’s are a band (they’re still around, you know) that often writes songs full of multiple meanings.  On the surface, “Roam” is about world travel and the freedom to pursue it without preconceptions or inhibitions.  As we’ve discussed before here on the screed, we don’t appreciate in business that the journey itself is the goal, not the just the end destination much of the time.  This song reminds us of that.

Then there is another layer of meaning.  The sexual innuendo in this band’s music is pretty apparent and this song is no exception.  The innocent song about taking extended vacations is actually a not so innocent one about stretching one’s sexual permissiveness to the limits (I’ll wait while you listen again!).  So what’s the business point there?

Great products can serve multiple purposes and audiences.  While Mom and Dad hear a catchy song about travel, the kids hear a song about sexual freedom.  A lot of music has those multiple meanings (go listen to “Little Red Rooster” and then explain to me how it’s about a chicken).  Smart business people define themselves and their brands but also leave room for their consumers to add their own meanings.  Our customers do define us in many ways just as much as we do ourselves.  Does that make sense?

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Filed under Music, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

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