The other night I found myself surrounded by over ten thousand screaming Katy Perry fans. Though not necessarily of sound mind, I knew what I was getting into when I offered to take my teen to a stop on Perry's 2014 Prismatic World Tour. Since I had heard Katy's songs playing on the car radio and around the house, I wasn't surprised she'd put on a great concert. I was surprised though, not so much from what I heard, but rather what I experienced: some brilliant business practices that many companies could learn from.
Katy Perry is clearly more than just a pop star. Forbes estimates her 2014 earnings will exceed $40 million. If that's not enough to convince people to take this biz-musician seriously as a business leader and a brand, consider the fact that Perry is a product ambassador for Proactiv, Adidas, and Ubisoft, has her own perfume line, Purr, and is not ruling out the possibility of a clothing line in the near future. It's without a doubt that her loyal fans--KatyCats--will be waiting.
Until then, here are some invaluable reminders from the reigning Queen of Pop for the business-minded folk:
1. Build brand advocates
Katy Perry knows who her best customers are and develops a way to reward and excite them. In return, her devoted KatyCats scream the loudest, dress in costume, attend her shows, buy her music, and talk about her with their friends.
Imagine being onstage in front of thousands of your company's top customers. While Perry's concerts make it easy for her to engage her customers effortlessly, email, phone calls and social media make it similarly easy to keep your own top customers engaged.
2. Be innovative
Mix things up. Perry is a mastermind with her use of imaginative themes, clothing, color, and stage designs. Large companies often fail by refusing to revamp old ways of doing business. Think Blockbuster and Planet Hollywood. There are infinite and innovative ways to update, for example, an old checkout experience. The Apple Store is doing it with a simple app that gives guests the option to checkout on their own time. It's a quick solution that allows customers to jet in and out in minutes, rather than wait in line with all the crowds at the retail stores.
As Clayton Christensen points out in The Innovator's Dilemma, it is critical for successful companies to evolve and adopt technologies that adjust to meet their customers' future needs and not just the needs they have today.
3. Deliver--from start to finish--the "wow" factor
Don't forget, the easiest "wow" you can receive is being consistent with delivering an amazing experience. Perry and her staff know that delivering the wow factor requires dancing for three hours straight and endless wardrobe changes. While this may not relate to your business, it most likely involves customer contact. Four-star restaurants and hotels get consistently high ratings by working hard at delivering consistently high-quality experiences. You don't have to come up with a special "cherry on top" surprise for all of your customers; just wow them by doing the simple things right.
On a recent family trip to Maui, we were disappointed by our room's location, which was next to a non-smoking room where guests took the liberty to smoke. Not only did hotel personnel deal with the situation immediately, they also upgraded us to a suite. It was a great move on behalf of the hotel staff who wanted to ensure we had an overall experience that lived up to their high standards.
Attending Katy Perry's concert reminded me that inspiration and great advice can come from the most unexpected sources, even if you find yourself hard of hearing for a couple of days.