Image: Courtesy of Dana Tanamachi

Oh, the good old times. Brands used to be stars. Admired by the masses because they had access to communicate with the masses. People were relegated to be the servants (also known as consumers) of brands: Pay and go away. Until we need you consumer again to finance our expensive mass media habit.

Game over

Well, not really. We still have brands worshipping at the Super Bowl altar, billions of dollar funneled through the mass media machine. And many brands will stay the course. It’s what they know. It’s how their company is structured. It’s how management measures success.

We experience a divide

While many brands are still delivering a bombastic show in half-filled houses, other brands have changed their job description.

They have transformed into roadies, supporting and help celebrating the community.

They don’t treat customers like annoying fans. They see them as real people.

They don’t just maximize profits, they invest energy in building relationships with people. Backstage has become main stage.

They become part of the community, allowing people to get emotionally invested in their success.

It’s less about monetary value, more about shared moral values.

It’s not about the big show. It’s about everything surrounding the big show. The little ideas. The small gestures.

No more artist riders

Sorry, the M&M bowls are gone. Just like the gallons of Ketel One. Becoming a roadie means losing a lot of privileges. It requires a re-visioning process throughout the whole organization. Reframing of thinking and your overall vision is tough work. And the execution is even harder. You can continue trying to be a rockstar. But you will play for smaller and rather lethargic crowds. The ROI will decrease and one day you will look over the fence and discover another world. An ecosystem of mutual respect, stakeholder value and a lively community. Might want to take off your costume now, ditch the big lights and huge stage. And get back to work for your people.