Using NPS differently by studying musicians

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Rijn Vogelaar

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Here is the blog I wrote for the netpromoter forum as a warm-up for my key note with James Whelligan at the NPS conference in London on the 10th of September 2014

Companies should behave more like a rock band. Not in an arrogant, conceited or riotous way like some musicians. But by following the example of a band like Snow Patrol. The band members show their love for the music enthusiastically and treat their audience with respect. They make contact with the fans and are grateful because they’ve been able to turn their passion into their profession thanks to the fans.

Regular concertgoers know the magical moments when the artist really reaches the audience. From one moment to the next, the energy level rises and the room moves as a single organism in the given rhythm. By major artists it seems to happen automatically and it feels very natural as well, but musicians have travelled a long road before they reach that point. Often they have spent many years performing covers in empty pubs. They have let themselves be inspired by a broad spectrum of music styles and gone in search of the one that suited them, which they adopted and continued developing further. Until they found their very own style. At some point during this process they came across other artists and formed a band together. Artists they hit it off with, people who feel drawn to the same music style, but who clearly each have their own contribution to make. Besides the musicians, other people may play an important role – managers, producers, friends, sound engineers. Together they create something that is larger than they are themselves but that everyone can identify with. They jam in the studio until they have found the right sound. On stage they achieve a kind of mutual intoxication that takes the music to even greater heights.

The more recognisable their music becomes, the more their fanbase grows. Enthusiasts feel attracted to the specific sound and presence of the band. These fans take a couple of friends along to the next concert and spread their enthusiasm for the music via their social network. And they do that in a thoughtful way. The friends they introduce to the music are people they suspect it will appeal to. They don’t bother others with it. As a result, only fans come to the concerts, and people who are curious and open-minded towards the music. It’s the perfect recipe for achieving the magical atmosphere of collective ecstasy.

Imagine if Snow Patrol were to act like a standard commercial company. They would try to attract as many people as possible to their concerts with adverts and special offers. The hardrockers and the Dance fans would turn up because of the cheap ticket and the free drink. If people wanted to leave the concert early, the company would try to keep them in with a discount or a gift. Or they would just lock the door so that no-one could get out.

If you look closely, most organisations have a game going on behind their audience. They try to attract new customers with advertising and don’t shrink from stealing someone else’s audience. If customers are not satisfied of have ended up at the wrong concert, the company tries to convince them to stay anyway. Even if it’s not their style of music. On the stage, however, it is alarmingly quiet. Most companies, even companies working with NPS concentrate on detractors and passives. No-one is trying to make contact with the promoters at the front and when the concert is over, they go home without a discount or a gift.

If a few people leave during a Snow Patrol concert because they would rather listen to Metallica on another stage, that doesn’t matter. The band is playing for the people who appreciate their music. They concentrate on their own inspiration, the other band members and the foremost rows of the public and they only begin to worry if the fans turns their backs on them or start playing with their mobile phones. If that happens, they adapt the number or take it off the set list. Their aim is to transport the fans into a state of joy. And if they manage it, the enthusiasm of the most loyal fans sweeps through the entire room. But that only happens if the right audience turns up, so preferably no heavy metal or dance fans.

At the Net Promoter Conference musician James Whelligan and myself will describe the process above and explain how companies can become a rockband using the NPS system. We will not only present our ideas but also use live music to make our point. We hope to see you at the Chelsea stadium!

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Rijn Vogelaar
Author of “The Superpromoter; on the power of enthusiasm”
Chief Enthusiasm Officer
Superpromoter Academy
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September 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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