There are very few people who actively like change.
Especially when it comes to our business (or our meal ticket) – change can be as scary as seeing Steven Tyler in a ruffled, pink pirate shirt.
When it comes to re-launching our brand or re-branding our company, the change can be downright terrifying. ONE seemingly small mistake can have disastrous consequences for our bottom line.
But being a naysayer or lacking the vision to seize new opportunities can have similar consequences.
Honestly, when Simon Cowell announced that he was leaving American Idol , I was the first to say “I’ll never watch this show again. He’s the face, the whole personality. Idol and I are through.”
I honestly thought, “This brand is dead, how can it succeed without him?”
And who didn’t?
And with their flagship face leaving the franchise, what was the re-branding strategy that American Idol rolled out to save the brand? New judges: Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) and, wow … Steven Tyler (with least popular judge Randy Jackson holding out as kind of a last man standing)?
Wow, I admit, if I had been sitting in on the re-branding meeting while someone was pitching this new concept to save MY franchise, I would have been the naysayer in the room. More than that, I might have run out of the room screaming! And time would have proven me very, very wrong.
OK, let’s honestly break this down from what we were thinking when we first heard this.
Jennifer Lopez really seemed like a star who peaked in the late 90s, it’s difficult to even name anything she’d done before joining Idol. Not to mention that she hadn’t really made the best career moves heading into the Idol signing the starring role in “worst movie ever made” Gigli comes to mind.
Former coolest man in the world Steven Tyler meanwhile is an ex-rock star god but he’s very much well … old. He’s an old man. Go ahead, ask your kids if they’ve heard of Aerosmith – they haven’t!
However, since he signed on Steven Tyler has completely rejuvenated the show — not only showing off his sweet, supportive side, but delivering such attention-grabbing spectacles as reinventing the blouse for men , raging at the Oscars and even getting caught wearing his daughter Liv’s clothes.
Needless to say, the re-branding worked, the re-launched show was a huge success. All of the handicappers thought Idol would dip 25-30% in viewership, but the ratings are up for the first time in years (after having steadily declined for years with Simon Cowell still there). The New York Times suggests that the re-launch and continued success indicate that the show has “staying power.”
The lessons for CEOs? When you’re changing and reinventing yourselves and your business, be bold. Be bold like Steven Tyler. Take risks. Put yourself out there. Say what you feel. Fear and lack of vision are the only things that will keep you from your next success.
Featured Image Courtesy of therealmackoy on Tumblr