The Greatest Story Ever Told - Real Estate Branding.

Real Estate Agent with 1st Action Real Estate
10/9 brand dead
Marc Davison of 1000WattConsulting has posted an article over at Inman News that's a must-read. Entitled 'The Greatest Story Ever Told', Davison provides great advice to Realtors on successful brand building using lessons taught by none other than The Grateful Dead.

Yep, that's right. Using song titles for paragraph headings, Davison steps through a series of valuable lessons on Brand Dead meant to illustrate that every decision the band made was driven by an attention to the customer that is increasingly rare in this, or any other industry.

slowYears ago, in another life, I worked for a Fortune 500 company and did a series of management presentations based on The Grateful Dead. Many of the bigwigs took a dim view of the series just as they did of the band. They viewed them as just another drug addles bunch of musicians who surely didn't have anything relevant to say to a group of 'successful' business leaders like themselves. That company is out of business today, less than 20 years later, because they ignored those very principles which the Dead so aptly employed, which contributed to the fact that The Dead was the perennial leader among touring bands in attendance and income right up until the day of Jerry's last concert. Without significant radio play, with virtually no #1 Billboard hits and with a non-existent advertising budget, pre-YouTube & internet, they were the top touring band in America for over 2 decades.

ballHow did they do it? They focused on their customer with a laser beam (literally & figuratively). Every decision they made was based on what was best for their customer. From venue selection to sound quality, from ticket prices to set selection, the customer was first. Frequent customers got 1st shot at tickets. Merchandising was systematic but also very flexible, providing opportunities for fgellow travelers. Anathema to the music industry to this day, The Dead also encouraged 'tapers', fans to set up and record their live music and to freely exchange it, extending the reach of their brand even further. And far from dampening record sales and concert attendance, it led to a customer devotion and loyalty that borders on the extreme to this day.

What efforts weren't focused on their customer was spent on their employees. They encouraged an entourage of roadies to bring their families along and provided educational opportunities, comprehensive health care and well above standard compensation even during non-concert times - which lead to a cadre of employees who would walk through fire for the band, stuck by them in good times and bad and whose loyalty and deadication to The Dead's customers matched that of the band. The phrase 'There's no experience like a Grateful Dead Show' was not just about the music but about the entire vibe - the music, the atmosphere, the experience. It didn't happen by accident.

So if you get a chance, stop on by and check out Marc's article. It's well done, concise and an accurate portrayal of someone building a very successful brand based on customer service. We could all use a little refresher in that department today.

And when you're done with the hard news posts of the day, stop on over to the Musical Rainers Group. It's not just for Deadheads. dh

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Jeannie Kontis
Lancaster, PA

What an interesting association!  I was never a "Dead Head", but I had good friends that were.  Thanks for the heads up and for providing a link ~ definitely something that I'll be making a point to read.

Oct 09, 2008 06:11 PM #1
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices


i enjoyed you post. Something very different from what you normally read here, very interesting, as I would not even think and look at things the way you are.

Very good post. I will go now to the link you have there.

Thank you

Oct 09, 2008 06:15 PM #2
David Slavin
Keller Williams Premier - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier

Dead is what many agent would call their market.

Oct 09, 2008 06:19 PM #3
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

Dead market you say? Well liven that puppy up some.

Oct 09, 2008 06:26 PM #4
Kaleb Kunz
Logan, UT

Great article that you referenced......the GD were way before my time but I surely can appreciate that kind of devotion to their music, fans and employees and see how it carries over into our industry.

Logan Utah Real Estate

Oct 09, 2008 08:49 PM #5
Richard Stabile
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Bergen County New Homes Builder Realtor

I am going to read it and I believe what you are saying. They had a devoted following for years.

Dead Heads.


Oct 09, 2008 10:02 PM #6
Louis Cammarosano
Smaulgld LLC - Hampton, NH

Hi Gene

Thanks for disseminating Marc's article. I am proud to say I was the friend who sent Marc the Dead links and started the discussion.

Marc brings life experience and intellect to his consulting practice. Check out his latest:

Life 1.0 a killer app

Oct 10, 2008 07:29 AM #7
Jon Wnoroski
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc. - Green, OH
Summit County Realtor

Great article.  I am always interested in learning more about the "key" to successful marketing and branding.  Thank you for sharing your information.

Oct 10, 2008 08:02 AM #8
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

Louis - I will check that out. I really enjoyed this article and plan to check back in as he writes like I like to read. You don't necessarily have to be a Deadhead to appreciate what they did not only in terms of their music ability but how they conducted their business and life. True, there were some elements that were not beneficial - at least in the early days, but their impact on music and business has been vastly underrated.

They were also ahead of their time contributing to causes like the Rainforest Coalition, the preservation of indigenous world music and the climate. They always passed out little stickers that read 'Remember - Deadheads leave only footprints.' I've still got mine.

Oct 10, 2008 08:07 AM #9
Louis Cammarosano
Smaulgld LLC - Hampton, NH


One thing that also is amazing about the dead's marketing triumph is they did it without facebook, twitter, or even email.

They used mailing lists (the band had their own and fans interconnected with each other through their own lists) The meetings in real life keep the bond between the fans as the Dead toured incessently providing fans a forum to meet regularly.

WHile we have better tools of communication at our disposal today, they are not a substitute for the real life meetings, nor are they a substitute for great content (something the dead had)

Oct 10, 2008 08:14 AM #10
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

Louis - absolutely right. Too many people substitute impersonal contact and 3rd party content for the real thing and are dismayed to find that it isn't working out for them. Technology is a great tool but we still have to work the basics if we want to excel. When this bank run is over, the agents who have used the time to work on their game will be well positioned to succeed.

Oct 14, 2008 06:15 PM #11
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor


Terrific post!

I love it when the GD are referenced in a positive light like this.

Like it or not people, the Dead are part of the American culture and succeeded long before the Internet or MTV with one simple premise: Customer Service!

fun with photoshop

Oct 15, 2008 09:56 AM #12
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Gene Wunderlich

Realtor & Legislative Liaison

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