My parents took me to see The Who perform Quadrophenia when I was in 5th grade. It was my first concert. They exposed to me to great music at a young age and for that I will be eternally grateful. My mom and dad didn’t even scoff (too much) when I decided to minor in General Music Studies in college and take three different semesters on The History of Rock and Roll, a semester on The Beatles and one on Jimi Hendrix. One cool thing that has happened as I’ve grown up, is that I can now expose my parents to new artists and not have them write it off as that racket those darn kids are listening to.

My dad recently told me he purchased tickets to see Bruno Mars at the United Center in Chicago. He knew I’d seen Bruno Mars perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live, that he liked the cover of “Locked Out of Heaven” he saw my brother’s band do and some other songs he’d heard. I told my dad I’d send him a sampling of some other stuff to look forward to. I’m constantly trying to see what other element of pop culture I can twist into a business or marketing lesson. I decided it might be possible to kill two birds with one stone. That’s how I got to writing the Benchmark 5: Things We Can Learn From Bruno Mars.

  1. Bring old things to a new audience. “Treasure” could have been ripped right from an Earth, Wind & Fire songbook. Much of Bruno Mars’ audience may not be familiar with them. Not only does it expose a new audience to a great genre that they may not have otherwise listened to, but now other parents besides mine can agree with what their kids are listening to. I mentioned the revival of the classic Grey Poupon commercial in the Weekly Newsletter this week to make the same point. If something has been gone long enough, it’s new to some and a pleasant reminder to the rest.
  2. Own your criticisms. I know I used this specific example either here on the Benchmark Blog or in the Weekly Newsletter, but it’s worth repeating. Many wrote off “Locked Out of Heaven” as a Police ripoff. Rather than shy away from it, Bruno Mars met it head on. He performed the song live at the Grammys…right alongside Sting.
  3. Make them feel something. I prefer Bruno Mars more upbeat tracks, but he is known by many for his love songs and ballads. Seriously, you could probably fill an entire album with songs you could propose to (many have…like this Flash Mob proposal). The ability to be able to tug on the heartstrings is important for a musicians and a strong asset for a business.
  4. Be a multi-threat. Justin Timberlake is the best current example. Bruno Mars hasn’t attempted movies (yet), but he was the host and musical guest for Saturday Night Live just like JT. Both artists seek to entertain on all levels and businesses should meet you on all your needs.
  5. Write descriptively. Whether it’s copy for your websites or product listings, your newsletters, or social media, it’s imperative to show not tell. Paint a picture for your audience with your words. Bruno Mars did a great job depicting unrequited love in “Grenade.” Learn from it.

Bonus: Since my dad will undoubtedly email this to everyone he knows, I figured I’d give him a chance to brag about my brother too (yes…the same one I asked the Curiosity to take to Mars in that one Ask Andy video). He’s the one on bass and head bobs. Here’s Stamps cover of “Locked Out of Heaven.”