In watching my weekly inspiration “Sunday Morning Reflection” with Charles Osgood, I saw a story on Kenny Chesney, the country singer behind “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and more. 

He’s toured the country with a new album every year for the last 7 years. This year he’s taking a year off to create what he expects to be a better album – one he really takes time to focus on. 

His last tour ended in Boston just after the marathon bombing took place. Because he happened to be performing there at that time, he was inspired to contribute. He’d created a cool track called “Spread the Love” and preparation met opportunity – he used the track to raise funds for amputee victims, and this experience inspired a whole set of new directions. 

I couldn’t help but think about the marketing and business lessons behind this story, so I thought I’d share them with you here.

    1. Build Need a Solid Foundation. Kenny talked about how it wasn’t always fun being on tour for 7 years straight, but he did the work to lay the foundation. I’ve gotten on a plane to go to events, to learn something, or get in front of people more times than I genuinely wanted to (though I do always enjoy it) to lay a foundation. I’ve written this newsletter, not missing an issue, for a full four years to lay a foundation. The little committed actions add up to bring you great impact, influence, and freedom. No foundation means no freedom.

  1. Be Temporarily Inspired By Your Best Work. In one of the clips from a Kenny Chesney concert they showed his stage. It had huge banners that said “No Shoes Nation.” I loved this for several reasons, here’s the first. Kenny Chesney has a song, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem.” It’s a popular song, and the banner represents the name for the tour. I’m sure his marketing team sat around thinking of a name for the tour. Hopefully it didn’t take too long for them to be inspired by the popularity of the song and create the tour around that. Similarly, my training was inspired by work that people kept talking about in a short period of time. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A FOUNDATION to build from to allow a random inspiration to launch a whole program, but it works. And it’s not a full change of branding, it’s simply an inspired campaign, so don’t get all stressed about changing everything… follow your inspiration.
  2. Start a Movement. The second reason I loved “No Shoes Nation” is that it declared a movement. This song has a certain attitude about it, and if a fan purchases a ticket to the show, they aren’t simply enjoying a concert, they are instantly declaring themselves a part of “No Shoes Nation.” Who doesn’t want a tribe of likeminded peeps with whom to belong?
  3. Allow Your Next Move to Unfold. Another way to say this is, “allow the Universe to chart your next move.” When you have a solid foundation – you know who your clients and are and have a clear foundation for what you are about, you can give yourself space and permission to be inspired by the seemingly coincidental events that show up. Like Kenny playing in Boston after the bombing, and being prepared to be inspired by what happened next. His Spread the Love Fund has inspired him to explore different aspects of himself which will surely permeate his new album. Had he not been open to the people and the experience, this wouldn’t have happened.
  4. Be Inspired By Your Audience. In his interview he talked about his audience in Boston – the type of people that live there and what they were experiencing. Every time I speak or sponsor something or create a new training I go through this process. I picture my audience, their thoughts, what they are experiencing right before they come into contact with me, and I design from there. And then I allow that experience to inspire my offerings and my campaigns. And if it moves me consistently over time into a new direction, then and only then would I reconsider my brand.

What do you take away from this article? I’d love for you to share!

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