Sunday, August 23, 2009

Come Back Tour or Out-Dated Rock Star

I recently attended a concert by the rock band Creed. It was their “comeback” tour and first time on stage together in close to 5 years in support of a new album appropriately titled "Full Circle". Now, late 1990's bands may not be your thing. But as I stood in the crowd that night and watched and listened to the show and took in the fan reaction, it made me think that an aging super star rock band embarking on a "comeback" tour is not unlike what many of people are currently experiencing as they are faced with re-inventing themselves in an effort to land a new job after a recent layoff or salary reduction as a result of the current recession.

I am sure in some way, Creed had to wonder if their music would still be relevant and if they have enough fans to fill up a concert hall. In order to re-introduce themselves to their fan base and to inform the market that they were back on tour, the promoters took a unique approach. Instead of simply putting out some advertising and announcing tickets will be sold on, they actually pre-sold a limited number of tickets at an incredibly reduced price at a preceding concert at the same venue. In conjunction with the normal channel of promotion and ticket sales, they took a much more targeted approach to personally reach out to concert goers already attending a show of a similar genre. This personal touch helped to quickly spread the word and alert fans to their upcoming reunion tour in real-time which allowed them to grab friends and buy tickets right there on the spot. The promoters were able, I am sure, to gauge how much and what type of further promotion was needed to fill out the venue after they reviewed the results of the person-to-person ticket sales.

The place was packed the day of the show (minus some stragglers that stayed away due to the threat of rain) and the energy inside the building was infectious. There was a collective interest in wondering whether the band would actually be as good they were in the past. Could they still deliver like they did 10 years earlier when they spawned six (6) Top 40 hits and a #1 album on Billboard? Everyone knew the reasons the band broke up 5 years earlier. The break-up was a result of the many personal difficulties of Scott Stapp, the band’s lead singer. Eventually Stapp went on to record a few solo albums and the 3 remaining band members formed another band. Although both parties reached some success, it was nothing like they experienced together as Creed.

The comeback concert, in my humble opinion, was a success. They played all their old hits. The music was performed almost flawlessly, the stage show was fantastic and the band members had a sense of re-connection and pure joy in playing together that was really evident even if you were watching from my vantage point – all the way up on the grassy hill of the outdoor stadium. Scott Stapp thanked the fans appropriately and proceeded to demonstrate why the band was so successful in the past. They rocked the house with heavy guitar rhythms and thought-provoking lyrics. By the end of the show when they debuted their upcoming new song "Overcome” I felt a very profound sense of the "Full Circle" that the band was delivering.

I also saw an immediate connection to the activities job seekers must consider and enact when trying to secure a new role in this challenging labor market. Candidates from entry level to senior executives are being forced to re-brand, re-position and re-deploy themselves in order to seek new viable opportunities. They must be very clear about their “comeback” and what it is they do best and how they deliver results that will get people’s attention. It’s not enough today to simply have a good resume and a large number of LinkedIn contacts. Each candidate must look at their “stage” and put together a “show” that will be memorable and unique and make people want more! (Which is exactly what Creed did when fans cheered them back on stage for 2 Encores).

Plan Your Comeback!

The “IT Factor” – there are literally thousands of aspiring bands and musicians. What makes the few rocket up to superstardom, resonate with fans and create music that is memorable and stand the test of time? It’s the “IT Factor!” Every rock star has a charismatic, confident and crystal clear way of conveying their talent in away allows fans to connect with. Everyone has their own charisma, expertise and ability to rise to the top.
So ask yourself…”Am I conveying my abilities, value, successes and return-on-investment to a potential employer in a way that they can connect with and jump at the opportunity to hire me?"

Are Fans Still Interested in Your Music? You have accomplished, learned, mentored, developed and experienced many skills in your career to date. Perhaps you have been out of the workforce for a period of time raising a family or re-tooling yourself towards a new function since you got laid off. This is not unlike Scott Stapp’s personal troubles with Creed, yet he came back better than before. Struggles, issues and obstacles cannot erase your talent or experience. Just look at Creed, they came back and hit the ground running after 5 years off the stage! Your value is ageless and timeless. You must present your value to an employer so they get excited to see you on the market rather than question your fit for the role.
So ask yourself….”Am I demonstrating the true value of my expertise? Is my message being clearly delivered?”

You Booked The Concert Hall, Can You Fill The Seats? Concert promoters book venues and then work to fill the arenas with fans. A job seeker must work the appropriate steps in order to inform the potential market they are available and ready to solve an employer’s problem by getting hired into a key role. Simply blasting your resume on every job board to applying to every open position will not get you any closer to ensuring you are targeting the right people and opportunities.
So Ask yourself……”Am I utilizing my LinkedIn network (you DO have a LinkedIn account right?) to the best possible advantage? Am I presenting my 15-second pitch to the right people in the right way about my expertise and value to an organization so they can help spread the word?”

How Many Encores Will You Receive? You have the star power, you create your own timeless music and you deliver it to the crowd and now you are ready to perform. You get invited in for an interview.
So ask yourself…….”Now that I am in front of the hiring team, are they connecting with me and sensing my passion and enthusiasm and ability to deliver? Will they invite me back?”

You are a Rock Star not a One-Hit Wonder – plan your comeback tour today!

(Stay Tuned for More Tips on "How" To Plan Your Comeback!)....

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