10 Business Lessons You Can Learn From The Foo Fighters
Albert Costill, Co-founder and Chief Content Strategist
Twenty years ago during a class trip to Washington DC I picked up the debut album from the Foo Fighters. At the time, I wanted the album because it was this new project from the former drummer of Nirvana. Little did I know that the Foo Fighters would become one of rock’s most recognizable and leading bands who seem to do the impossible – get better as each year goes by.
You know what else I didn’t expect? That Dave Grohl and company would end up being excellent role models to entrepreneurs and start ups! Seriously. These guys aren’t just amazing musicians, and incredibly cool dudes, they also happen to be marketing rock stars.
Wanna achieve rock star status with your own projects? Here’s 10 business tips you can learn from Dave Grohl and his Fighters of Foo.
1. “Hello, I’ve waited here for you…”
The band opened with one of their most popular and well-known songs during their 2015 tour; “Everlong”. Instead of making fans wait for their best material, the band hit the stage with a bang. The audience was instantly rewarded with one of the band’s greatest hits and they had the audience hooked for the rest of the night.
For business owners and marketers, you also want to give your customers your best content, products, and services from the get-go. This can be accomplished by providing your website visitors with killer “evergreen” content when they first arrive at your site. Offer a free white paper or webinar that offers great value while establishing your authority at the same time. If you get them hooked early, your fans will stick with you for the entire ride.
2. “What if I say I will never surrender?”
For those who weren’t aware, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl broke his leg during a show in Sweden prior to the launch of the band’s North American tour. Did that prevent the band from touring? Absolutely not. Grohl got surgery and designed an epic throne so that he could continue the rest of the tour.
Grohl’s dedication to touring and providing his fans a great show made them love him even more, which showed in the droves of people who came out to see him. He taught us that, even when the odds are stacked against you, don’t stop from delivering. If you make a sincere effort on a consistent basis, people will support you. Customers can definitely see, and respect, when a business has worked extensively to make them satisfied. Do whatever you can to give them an experience they’ll never forget.
3. “I’m called a cow”
The Foo Fighters are known for having a sense of humor – just take a look back at music videos for “Big Me,” “Learn To Fly,” and “Long Road To Ruin.”. This includes having a little fun at their own expense sometimes. And, that’s one of the reasons why fans love them. The band doesn’t always take themselves seriously.
While running and marketing a business is a serious matter, there are times when you have to take a step back and have a little fun. Think of brands like Old Spice, MailChimp, or Dollar Shave Club. These were all brands who created humorous ads or text to attract customers. And, it worked. Just take a look back at when Dollar Shave Club released their “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” video. It made the brand a household name by using humor as tool in their marketing efforts. People like to laugh!
4. “My sweet Virginia, I’m the same as I was in your arms.”
Personally, I think that one of the main reasons that people are in love with the Foo Fighters is because they’re authentic. The guys that you see during interviews or on-stage during a concert are the same guys who are at home. They’re not putting on a facade. Dave Grohl is the same Dave Grohl that grew up in Virginia – despite being one of the most popular rock stars in the world right now.
Another way that the band is authentic is by not being afraid to share their values, such as butting heads with the Westboro Baptist Church, or admitting when they’re not happy with one of their recordings (the band wasn’t all that thrilled with their fourth album One By One). How authentic are you? Are you perceived as a corny salesperson or the real deal?
5. “Fly along with me, I can’t quite make it alone”
While Dave is the patriarch of the Foo Fighters, he’s also managed to surround himself with talented musicians who have helped made the Foo Fighters the success that they are. Can you imagine the band without Taylor, Nate, Chris, or Pat? Besides, the band members themselves, Dave and company surround themselves with the right people like Dr. Lew. Dr. Lew was the man responsible for Dave’s surgery and is one of the best surgeons around. Without Dr. Lew, we may have not been able to see the band this past summer.
When it comes to your business, you also need to surround yourself with talented individuals. Remember, you aren’t skilled at everything and you’ll need team members who bring something unique to the table. You may need to hire an engineer, web designer, accountant, sales team, or advertising agency to help your business find success.
6. “The voice upon the stage, Is the heart inside a cage”
If you attended any of the shows this summer you probably recall that one of the highlights was Dave discussing his leg injury and how he designed his throne. Even though most fans were familiar of the incident in Sweden hearing it from Dave on-stage made you feel like you one of his closest confidants. It made the audience feel important and it was engaging enough to make everyone laugh and feel closer to the band. Because of the story, when the band played songs like “Times Like These” and “Walk” they had a lot more meaning behind them.
Storytelling is one of the most important parts of marketing since it can help strengthen relationships with your customers and create a loyal following. Tell stories that your audience wants to hear and that can improve their lives through content that is engaging and taps into their emotions.
7. “In your honor, I would die tonight”
The Foo Fighters have always paid homage to the band’s who influenced them and are more than willing to share the spotlight with them. Whether it’s jamming on stage with their heroes from Led Zeppelin, Motorhead, or Queen or covering their idols on an album or during a concert, the band isn’t afraid to give a shout out to the bands who paved the way for them.
Reaching out to influencers in your industry is another part of marketing. By making an honest connection with an influential individual, you can gain exposure into a new market because they may allow you to guest blog on their site or share your content on their social media channels.
8. “Kudos, my hero”
When Dave fell off that stage in Sweden just two songs into the band’s set, do you know what he did? He quickly patched his leg up so he could continue the show. Then he went and got it fixed properly. That’s what I call commitment. If he wasn’t passionate about the band and the audience, the show would have ended right then and there. He probably would have even cancelled the remaining dates. But, Dave is committed to the Foo Fighters and the show went on.
If you aren’t committed to your business or marketing campaign then your customers are going to see right through you. More importantly, your commitment is going to get through the rough days when you have setbacks, like not being able to pay your bills or trying to fix your website that just crashed. You’re a business owner because you’re committed to an idea and nothing else.
9. “Say have you heard the news today?”
Last year the band released Sonic Highways. What was great about the album was that the band recorded the eight songs in eight different cities. The sessions who recorded and aired on HBO. So, we got to hear a new song every week and see the recording process of each track. And, when the series premiered, the band played a gig at Chicago’s Cubby Bear – the series first episode took place in Chicago. In short, the marketing campaign for Sonic Highways was stellar since it crossed multiple forms of media that all came back to one cause; the release of a new album.
Marketers have to use multiple forms of media as well. Daily blog posts, for example, are great for promoting your brand because they can offer advice or explain what it is you do exactly. But, you also need additional content to tap into your email subscribers, social media fans, or the people who dissect content preferably through graphs or podcasts. Just remember, even though you are creating multiple types of content and pushing it on various channels, it must always go back to a common cause.
10. “Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?”
As noted earlier, Dave Grohl went on tour with a broken leg. If you attended one of the band’s shows you could tell that he was itching to get out of that chair and jam with the rest of the band. Did that mean that he didn’t have blast? Of course not. Dave still gave it his all night in and night out because he loved being on stage and playing for his fans.
Sometimes hard work alone doesn’t cut it. You also have to be passionate about you’re selling and promoting. When you’re passionate, you’ll deliver your best product, service, or content.
Customers want to support brands who are authentic and transparent. They don’t want to be duped by a brand promising to something that it’s not. Proudly share your brand’s values. Admit when you’ve made a mistake, and most importantly, always be yourself.