“An entrepreneur is a leader of excellence, trailblazer and pioneer who constantly brings change to their generation.”
― Onyi Anyado
Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson are a few names that generally pop up in a person’s mind when they hear the word entrepreneur. What exactly does an entrepreneur do? The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as one who manages an enterprise or a brand. An entrepreneur identifies a need, and creates a product to satiate that need. And upon achievement of success, he/she is termed as a successful entrepreneur. Can we throw in the names of Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield (chief decision makers in Metallica) in that category? Let’s hold on to that thought for a bit.
Let’s get a clearer understanding of the consumer’s decision making process, first. A consumer firstly recognises the need that demands satiation. Then, the search for information and evaluation of alternatives, and, then the purchase. Let’s take the example of smart phones. A consumer wanting to own a smart phone is trying to fulfil his need of aiding better communication. Before the purchase, the consumer looks at alternatives. He fills in the basket with 4-5 brands. Every brand’s innate desire is to command some mindshare by finding a spot in that basket. Then come in the brand loyalists. People who are willing to stay up all night camping outside the Apple store to buy that new phone, with a grand total of 1.08 new added features. So, we can safely say that Apple commands a huge mindshare. Have we not similarly seen metal heads line up outside stores for the new Metallica record? What is the first name you hear when the words ‘heavy metal’ are mentioned? A majority of the masses will say Metallica before they can even complete one cycle of inhalation and exhalation. Can we then, throw in Metallica’s name in the category of successful brands?
Let’s try and look at what a brand does in order to achieve success? Any brand’s success depends on being able to identify the changing trends in the market and adapting to them to give a better tailored product to the consumers – a product that can find acceptance in every market. Has Metallica adapted and changed their ‘product’ over time? Have they found acceptance every time and that too with newer audience being added? The answer to both the above questions is a resounding yes! Right from their inception in 1981, they have been the pioneers of everything fast and heavy. They spawned an entire generation of music fans and inspired even more people to pick up instruments. Can an Apple or a Samsung boast of such achievements? Did Metallica change their positioning (genre of music) during this journey? Yes! But, then again, which successful brand hasn’t? Isn’t that the essence of a brand? Observing, learning, adapting and changing over time. What’s worth mentioning is the mind share they control, and the loyalty they command amongst their fans – something any brand would dream of!
33 years, almost 2000 shows in more than 60 countries, more than 100 million records sold worldwide, and still counting! With scores of metal heads waiting with bated breath for the new album to hit stores, I think we can safely say that Metallica do come under the category of successful brands, probably, even the most successful heavy metal brand. And Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, successful entrepreneurs.
P.S. This has nothing to do with Metallica’s musical abilities. This article was written from a marketer’s perspective. Are Metallica the best heavy/thrash metal band? This article doesn’t intend to answer that question.