Guest Column: What Mick Jagger Can Teach You About the Consulting Business and Branding

By Gail S. Bower and Roberta Matuson

They say you can’t always get what you want. But we disagree. While attending the 2017 Million Dollar Consulting® Convention, we spent an evening at “The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism delivered by DHL” at the Navy Pier in Chicago, an exhibit about the musical, business, and creative lives of one of the greatest rock bands in history. What a perfect companion experience to the Convention.

The exhibit tells the story of The Rolling Stones early days, its significant influence on music and culture, the drivers of their creativity and work style, and allows us to peek into (recreations of) their lives — shared housing in the beginning (think frat house, only worse!), the recording studio, creative processes behind their tours and intellectual property, fashion choices, and even back stage.

It’s an impressive and instructive story, and here’s what Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ronnie, along with a host of collaborators, can teach you about consulting.

Your body of work. Whether you’re just starting out, perpetuating your brand, or shifting your focus, plan to devote considerable creative energy on your intellectual property. In their early years The Rolling Stones lived together and spent most of their time and energy writing songs.

How prolific are you? Do you have a process for creating new work, articles, tools,        processes, and visuals?

Graphics Matter. If you’re of a certain age, when you think about The Rolling Stones, you picture their distinctive tongue logo (that is, if you’re not thinking of one of your favorite tunes). The Rolling Stones’ icon certainly has withstood the test of time — can you imagine the band deciding to do a rebranding?

It’s not just the logo that has defined the band’s image. Besides their music and            performance charisma, a collection of posters, photographs, album art, and                  merchandise — some with collaborators such as Andy Warhol — comprise the branding           power and mystique of these legends. Yeah, young people today taking selfies think              they invented this, but it was really the Rolling Stones.

How’s your brand? Do you stand for something? Does your graphic representation       reinforce the story? Do your visuals amplify your brand?

Packaging Matters. For the Stones, the visuals go beyond graphic design to fashion and the accouterment of their realm. One section of the exhibit walks us through their guitar stories and another through their enormous influence on fashion. They seemed to have as much fun making a mark on the world through fashion as through their musical risk taking.

How about you? Are you leading the industry and taking risks? Do your fashion choices               help you stand out or sink back like a wallflower, indistinguishable from your        competitors?

Experience Design Matters. As rock ‘n roll exploded, musicians upped the ante through performance, and the Stones led the pack. As if their music wasn’t distinct enough, The Rolling Stones created dazzling experiences through their live shows. The exhibit tells us about the behind-the-scenes design process, complete with architectural drawings and 3D models. Nothing, it seemed, was left to chance.

How is the experience of your brand? Are you designing memorable experiences for    your clients? Or just letting things unfold however they will?

Recharge. Just before the 3D concert and the requisite walk through the gift shop that concludes Exhibitionism, The Rolling Stones experience includes a visit backstage. You could say it’s the Stones’ happy place. It’s where they hang out, safe from the gaze of the lens (photographic, video), before and after a show. We would have included pictures here, but this was a no photo zone. It’s where the musicians bond. Where the passion for and anticipation of live performance builds before exploding on stage.

What recharges your energy? What space or activity fills you with passion? How are you            coming together with your peers to laugh, learn, and just hang out?

The Rolling Stones makes Rock ‘n Roll life seem easy, like one supercharged tour after another. But The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism gives us an all access pass into the real story — the backstory, the strategy, innovation, individual effort, and persistence needed to flourish and evolve.

What are you doing to create and share your backstory to build a rocking brand that will stand the test of time?





Organizations hire Gail Bower as a revenue strategist. She works with nonprofits to put more money in their missions and with businesses to put more mission in their money. For more information, visit or contact Gail at or 215/922-6937.

Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer® and President of Matuson Consulting, helps organizations achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She’s the author of four books including the newly released, The Magnetic Leader. Sign up to receive her free newsletter, The Talent Maximizer®. Follow her on Twitter.

© 2017 Gail S. Bower and Roberta Matuson

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