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Learn to rock company culture at MPI-CAC Signature Luncheon

By: Heather Warthen, H1 Marketing & Events | Oct 29, 2019

RockAttendees at MPI-CAC’s Signature Luncheon will have a front-row ticket to learning how to building a rock star culture within their company when keynote speaker Steve Jones hits the stage. Jones has spent more than 30 years in the music industry and will present “Creating Corporate Culture that Rocks” at the annual event.

Signature Luncheon is from 11:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Marriott Marquis in Chicago. To register, click here.

MPI-CAC C&C e-newsletter editor Heather Warthen of 22nd Century Media spoke with Jones on Oct. 23 to learn more about what’s in store for his Signature Luncheon keynote.

Heather Warthen: How did you find your way into rock and roll?

Steve Jones: I was a music fan from as long as I can remember and I was a terrible musician. I took piano, guitar, saxophone, drums - lessons in everything - and I was terrible. So what I discovered was I was also fascinated by the process of music - the DJs on the radio, how concerts happened, the logistics of music – so I went into the radio business. For years I was on the air and then went in to management and corporate programming and in the course of all that along the way ... I was charged with doing a presentation for a sales group. At the time I wasn’t a public speaker, I hadn’t written the book, and I didn’t know what to talk about. I realized the only thing I know is this music business that I’ve been around for 30 years so the idea I came up with was what could you learn from the music business to apply to sales. And the presentation went really well and I thought, “There’s definitely something here,” so I started to blog about that which led to a book and led to speaking. I really got into music because I loved it but couldn’t do it and needed to find a way in and the way in was through the media side.

HW: When did you realize developing your brand was very much like starting a rock band?

SJ: It was really that presentation. I can actually pinpoint the moment I was sitting on a patio in Austin, Texas, and I was drinking a Corona or two, and “Margaritaville” was playing on the radio. And I was working on this presentation about what you can learn from music to apply to business and I realized Jimmy Buffet, as I’m listening to that song, he’s is a multi-millionaire. He’s only ever had this one little hit song and it’s a very short song about getting drunk, that’s it, and he’s turned that into a business empire so I sort of reverse engineered to what did he do? What did he do to build this up? It’s a great story and he did it very strategically and I began to explore how other bands like Kiss used notoriety and publicity over pure talent. That’s not to say there wasn’t talent, but they realized if they didn’t get noticed they would never have a chance to demonstrate the talent. Then there were all other kinds of things that people did by accident that were amazing stories where they stumbled blindly into wisdom and I started putting all those pieces together in a blog form and in the form of a book.

HW: Who do you think are some people who have excelled at developing their brand and what’s the biggest thing they did to do it?

SJ: I think the answer is a little bit different for everyone. I like to explore in particular bands from classic rock because they have the heritage versus if I used an example of someone who’s big today, they might not have the 30- 40 years of evidence to support the argument. AC/DC is a great example. There’s a band that pretty much plays the same song over and over again. They have outlasted almost every band that has come along and almost every musical genre that has come along. They’ve burned through three lead singers and yet they continue to just do what they do with absolute consistency, and consistency is what I think is their key to success. They know that their fans don’t want to hear songs about relationships or don’t want to hear songs about saving the environment; they want to hear songs by AC/DC so they can repeat the same thing over and over again, upbeating and refreshing it, but essentially doing the same thing over and over again for 40-some years. That’s really masterful genius, in my mind, to be able to recommit to your consistency at that level because far too often in business we get excited about the next new thing and we lose track of what our fans expect from us. AC/DC is a good example of consistency. From a brand-building point of view, I love to talk about Taylor Swift who I think has been absolutely brilliant in how she’s built her brand and then evolved her brand from country into pop and continued to look at her brand as something very personal and very connective with her audience. She builds fans for life, she builds fans one at a time and there’s so many great stories about Taylor on social media or in person where she, with no immediate ROI, will invest in her fans. ... Last year, she was trolling social media and found one of her fans who was agonizing over not being able to pay her college tuition. Taylor sent that person a money transfer that night to pay her college tuition. That sort of thing explodes virally and reinforces our perception of Taylor Swift as this kind, gentle human being. She’s very smart in that way. She knows what her brand is about and she does things that most people wouldn’t do because they’re too big of a star and they don’t see the immediate return on their investment but she knows that is a long game and she can build fans for life that way.

HW: What can people expect to take away from your speaking engagement at Signature Luncheon?

SJ: My goal is when people leave the room they don’t realize how much they’ve learned. The thing I love about using music is that when you’re hearing music your mind is wide open in a way you don’t even realize. So I like to take these concepts, introduce them through music and people will hear great songs, they’ll hear great backstage stories from bands they love and bands they’ve grown up with and artists from today and we’ll begin to connect the dots on how these things relate back to creating amazing culture in your company.

About the Author: Heather Warthen is Chief Events Officer and Chief Marketing Officer for 22nd Century Media, an award- winning media company specializing in hyperlocal content in Chicagoland. Hired as its first employee in 2005, she is a former award-winning journalist and photographer who now manages the planning, logistics, marketing and executing of more than a dozen community events and expos. She serves on the 2019-2020 MPI-CAC Board of Directors as Director Marketing & Public Relations.



Heather Warthen, H1 Marketing & Events
H1 Marketing & Events

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