I dumb down for my audience
And double my dollars
They criticize me for it
Yet they all yell "Holla"
If skills sold
Truth be told
I'd probably be
I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
(But i did five Mil)
I ain't been rhymin like Common since
When your sense got that much in common
And you been hustlin since
Go with what makes sense
Jay-Z "Moment of Clarity"
the above lyrics show the difference between a mainstream star and a profitable one.
Talib Kweli makes a good living of his personal brand of highly intelligent, mature rap. Jay-Z on the other hand makes loads more build on a foundation of his rap skills, but less and less dependent on those rap skills.
In order to become a mainstream star, compromise around content will creep in
and stuff with no relation to your core business will become important.
And even then there is no way to be certain all this will make you a star.
As we know from work of Mark Earls, a major part of that is not in our hands.
Becoming a profitable brand on the other hand is very much within our hands.
It involves a distinct proposition that solves a problem in the lives of prospective consumers, whose value is clearly and uniquely communicated
Making sure we have healthy margins and focussing not on the mainstream,
but the people who buy our product, keeping them happy and growing that foundation.
Most people make most decisions about most products not out of loyalty towards most brands. They are open to try something new if given a compelling reason.
So next time you meet clients, ask them straight up what they really want, the fame or the fortune? One may follow the other, but it helps to know what to focus on first.
That will save both parties a lot of time and make for clear strategy, goals and accountability.