>>If you’ve got it, flaunt it


I popped along to see an Arctic Monkeys gig last week, partly to see what all the fuss was about and partly to prove I am still quite trendy. No. Really. I am.
For those of you who haven’t opened a newspaper this year, and have missed all the hype, the Arctic Monkeys are a bunch of mates from Sheffield who have created one of the fastest selling debut albums of all time. Their success has come on the back of some really clever sampling over the internet that first built them a fan base, then helped them to secure a contract with an indie label and finally created the sort of hysteria usually associated with a manufactured boy band.
They are, if you like, the Innocent Drinks of the music world: uncompromising and unconventional, yes, but also hugely successful. Stay with me here. Because it’s amazing how many times I am reminded that the old ways of doing business are no longer working. Whether you make great music, or great smoothies, we are entering a new age of consumer power, where brands that are exciting and genuinely different can make it big with or without the support of traditional distributors.
Put another way: if the Arctic Monkeys had shambled into some mega record company, and sat before the cigar-chomping A&R man, I doubt their album would have got made. I am pretty certain the same would have been true of Innocent’s founders if they had targeted the big retailers in their early days instead of deciding to start building a fan base by selling at music festivals.
In both cases, success was delivered through a combination of smart thinking, good marketing and a great product - all of which turned potential consumers into devoted brand ambassadors. That’s why the Arctic Monkeys ended up selling 360,000 copies of their album in a week and that’s why Innocent is now a top grocery brand that is sold by pretty much everyone.
So, for all you budding entrepreneurs who are finding it hard to get listings for your funky new products, there’s a clear message in all this monkey business. No, the message is not that I wanted an excuse to write about a great indie band that blew me away when I saw them live last week. It’s this: if you have produced something that consumers think is genuinely worth having, then there are more ways than ever for you to tap into that demand and build a business.
business is for monkeys