What is the difference between one more run-of-the-mill, regular rock and roll band and the bands that make it big, huge even, and become household names? Could it be that it is the same thing that separates the regular business from the exceptional one, the mediocre from the great?


There are lots of rock-and-roll bands, but very few have the reach and the staying power of Kiss. Think what you want about Kiss, but whether you love them or hate them, you certainly know of them.

And they are worth, as Dr. Evil might say, one billion dollars.

The founder and front man of Kiss is the legendary Gene Simmons. Clearly Simmons knows a thing or two about success and making money. Not only has his band been playing sold out shows around the word for 40 years, not only are they part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it is estimated that Simmons alone is worth $300 million.

Gene Simmons is a great entrepreneur. Aside from being the marketing genius behind Kiss, he has started a chain of restaurants, a financial services management company, reality shows, owned a football team, is a best-selling entrepreneurship author, and is a well known speaker on the business lecture circuit.

So, how did he get so rich and achieve such success? It's the band, right? Wrong. Here is what Simmons had to say on the subject:

"I like being part of a rock and roll band, but I love being part of a rock and roll brand."

Now that is a really interesting insight, just maybe a game-changing insight.  

Think about it. After 40 years, putting on that cumbersome Kiss makeup (45 minutes to apply), clomping around in those giant high heels, and singing, once again, "I want to rock and roll all night and party every day!" just might get a little tiring, a tad boring.

The band is fine, but what Simmons knows is that it is the brand that brings in the real money.

What brand is that, you ask? Well, what do you think of when you think of Kiss? That gaudy makeup, wild shows, pyrotechnics -- the whole outlaw rock and roll thing, right? Simmons and Kiss have spent considerable time, effort, and money cultivating that bad boy rock outlaw image.

And it is worth a fortune to them.

According to an article for Brandweek magazine, "Kiss has licensed its name to more than 3,000 product categories, from lunch boxes and comic books to credit cards and condoms to become nearly a one-billion-dollar brand."

It is a vital lesson for any entrepreneur.

You start by doing that thing you are hired to do, and you must do it well. The lawyer must (sadly) litigate. The florist must have a great eye and fresh flowers. Doing the "technical" part of your job is akin to being in the band. The "job" is the foundation.

But it's the brand that can make you the money.

The lawyer might brand himself as "Divorce for Men." The florist might become "The Wedding Florist." The brand gives people a reason to remember and choose you.

You might like being in a rock and roll band too, but you will love being part of a rock and roll brand.