The Lizard King’s Social Strategy
Stephanie Hay, Former Viget
Copyblogger's Brian Clark today posted an interesting story about how The Doors instituted a social strategy -- inviting all their friends to L.A.'s London Fog for an audition set -- to make them look mega popular. Management was impressed and booked The Doors as their house band, but *gulp* no one showed for consecutive shows. At least, at first. Over time, though, Jim Morrison and his crew managed to bounce back and fill the London Fog consistently, subsequently birthing some tunes that play like the soundtrack of American culture during the late sixties and early seventies (and, decades later, inspiring a little movie in 1991 starring THE Val Kilmer. Who could forget that?!). This story got me thinking about Jackson's post on how growing a community is like surviving the wilderness. He highlights the importance of keeping the fire going after the initial spark happens. So, how did The Doors get the fire burning hot (is this a bad time for a "C'mon Baby Light My Fire" reference? Probably...) considering their second show seemed so much less popular than the first? How did they transition from what I'd perceive as a "passing fad band" to one with lasting resonance? To add onto Jackson's post, I think aside from having a good idea and tremendous persistence -- and at least a little karma -- whether or not something becomes mainstream must rely on people's recognition of long-term potential beyond the initial fad fervor. This, to me, goes further than the basic, "how do we market this good idea long-term?" to, "is this a good idea with long-term potential that can keep growing on its own?" Some believe any good idea can be sold; but why risk subjecting yourself to being considered a "fad" or having "poor execution?" If the idea (or, in this case, music) seems like a one-hit wonder, no amount of spin or marketing will bring consumers to long-term acceptance. Instead, I'd say that demonstrating a true potential for greatness beyond *this* moment is stronger than the initial hype one could generate with any marketing tactic. Sure, The Doors risked looking like tools for getting all their friends to one show (FTW!), then failing to get them to come back (FTL!). But I can only assume that the London Fog's management must have heard impressive potential in the no-name band to keep them booked. And, sure enough, other people heard that potential, too, because the rest is history. PS: Val Kilmer: Where are you now?