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Iron Maiden: lessons learned from a heavy metal show

Something to think about

Iron Maiden: lessons learned from a heavy metal show

Last Sunday I have attended to an Iron Maiden show at Sao Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium. Despite of being a heavy-metal show, I got some insights from a business point-of-view that I would like to share. But, first things first.

An Amazing Show

Iron Maiden is one of the best and well-succeeded heavy-metal bands of all time. Not only the music is great, but the show is an incredible experience. The set list was not a secret and, even knowing it, it was an amazing experience for the senses.

From a elaborated set production to the sound quality, the show was one of the best I have attended in the late years. And I have gone to several ones: Dio, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Shaaman, Angra, Anthrax… and the list goes on. Well, I’m a die-hard heavy-metal fan.

What about the business?

Iron Maiden was capable to put 65 thousand people inside Morumbi Stadium for yesterday’s show. That is an amazing business case to consider: the band was formed back in 1975 by Steve Harris. It’s first studio album went out in 1980 (Iron Maiden), but was The Number of The Beast, in 1982, who led the band to the top. And then they stayed there.

From 1994 to 1999, the band had its lower with singer Blaze Bayley, which is a great vocalist, but had forced his limits beyond his natural vocal range. But the band get back in track with the return of Bruce Dickinson as its front man. Well, this is a story you can read promptly on Wikipedia

So, the case is: 65 thousand people for a show 44 years after the band formation. What is all about?

First, let’s start with the show itself: all band members were basically excited on stage. That is something one cannot fake for a so big crowd. The attention to the detail, the well-crafted scenario and figurines as well as a hand-picked set of musics (although my favorite was not played — I just love Wasted Years), showed a great care about the fans, from the oldest to the newcomers.

Iron Maiden expanded to a multi-market business, varying from music, merchandising and video-games. Ed Hunter, a greatest hits album, was released back in 1999 with a video-game carrying the same title. At the time, it was not well received. But has shown how the band was trying new businesses.

In fact, the band, and the brand it represents, still move passions and still deliver passionate performance as well. The entire band showed a passionate performance during the gig, delivering an amazing experience to whom attended to the venue. Everyone tried to show up using some t-shirt, people bought a lot of merchandise during the event. My wife got a brand new Legacy of The Beast ’19 Tour t-shirt for the show. And we have left the arena feeling the show was too short: it was a little more than 2 hours of our favorites, with amazing on-stage performance.

44 years after its foundation, the band can deliver high-value to its fans which is the main insight about its business: although being on the road for so long time, the band still delivers not only a high quality show, but a passionate one. It is all about passion, feelings and a great product behind it.

It means that having a great product is not enough. You must deliver, also, an experience, a passionate experience, which differentiates your brand from the others. I have a great counter-example.

I have attended to Judas Priest show once. It had a great scenario, the sound was incredible. The band perform so well on stage that you feel you are listening to one of it’s studio albums. However, there is something missing: the passion. The show is not great. It is almost like turning on a jukebox. The band can’t deliver the same passion Iron Maiden put on what it does.

The focus on a passionate experience is what differentiate Iron Maiden from other metal bands. Not only the great music and a great experience, but a passionate performance.

Wrap it with passion!

Therefore, the main insight I got during the show was this one: wrap whatever you deliver to your customer with passion. Passion tend to catch your customer attention and make it passionate about your product or service. Your customer become a fan and an evangelist for your product or service.

This is what make brands like Apple stand on the market’s top for so long. This effect can be noticed on several markets: music, arts, technology. Name it! Passionate delivered products and services always generate a group os passionate users and customers.

That is the secret of Iron Maiden: the attention to the detail, the respect to its customers and fans, the close relationship with the community around it and a passionate delivery of what the community want of them.