Good rock bands, like other good business teams and organizations, have always known how to stand out from the herd. Whether "competitive advantage" was ever in their vocabulary, these groups have understood what made them different and they've learned to spotlight it. (Think Grateful Dead, Ramones, or KISS, for example—regardless of your personal preference.)
But through the years, as thousands upon thousands of bands have presented their music to the public (thanks lately to social media and iTunes), it's become a bigger challenge for a band to rise above the noise.
It still can be done, however. One indie band—well known to BLFR readers after my endless flogging of their music—has re-imagined the music video medium (a field wallowing in unimaginative insipidity). As a result, their creative and quirky song videos (mostly DIY, sometimes recorded on mobile devices) have built up a giant fan base on Facebook and YouTube. This band can be a reminder to business teams everywhere—and especially hi-tech startups—that if you're relentlessly innovative (and have obvious fun in the process) you have a decent shot at gaining people's attention.
Getting people to notice you is necessary, of course, but preliminary. There has to be something beyond marketing. The product or service has to deliver.
In the above case of Walk Off The Earth, a home-grown video—of five band members performing on ONE guitar Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know"—was seen by 50 million viewers in one month in early 2012. (That might meet the standard for a "viral phenomenon"!) Music fans, their curiosity piqued, then discovered on WOTE's website a treasure trove of innovative clips of cover tunes and originals that could satisfy them for hours, which they began circulating to friends. The result: WOTE has since completed several world tours of sell-out shows and charted their first album, R.E.V.O. It all starts with being recognized.
Application to mainstream business? Well, you can ask yourself, "Does your product or service stand out from the blur of mediocrity in the marketplace?" And then, "Does it make the world a better place?" Without a good signal-to-noise ratio nobody's going to notice it. On or off the earth.