What Can Your Business Learn From Lyle Lovett?

I know, I know. Lyle Lovett probably isn’t the easiest connection to make when it comes to considering the traits of highly successful brands. I suppose the thought struck me last week when I had the absolute pleasure of seeing him live on the Cayamo 2010 music cruise (aka my dream vacation/floating music festival).

I’d never seen Lyle perform live before. I know he’s a musical icon, but had never paid him much attention until I learned he would be one of the headliners on the boat (sharing the stage with other musical greats like Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt and my personal favorite, Brandi Carlile). Needless to say, while I wasn’t a fan before boarding the ship, everything changed when I disembarked.

After seeing him live and witnessing his easy-to-love stage presence, it’s understandable to see why he has such a loyal fan base. When I stopped to observe the jam-packed performance hall, all eyes were on Lyle, smiles abound. I could tell this audience was in the palm of his hand, myself included.

So what is it about Lyle that has created this die-hard, loyalist fan base, and how can business owners apply his success to their own practices?

Lyle is Authentic

While Lyle and his “large band” were certainly a sophisticated, well-polished group of musicians, the entire experience was authentic – completely genuine from start to finish. He was incredibly gracious, transparent about the song creation process and warm. He made a vast performance hall feel more like his living room. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s got tons of charisma.

Business translation: Don’t be afraid to be informal and honest with your customers, treat them more like friends and family than simply customers, pull back the curtain and explain your company’s background and processes whenever possible, and make every customer feel like your only customer.

Lyle is a Collaborator

More than just a collaborator, he’s the epitome of generosity and a model of respect. He’s not afraid to share the limelight and clearly loves drawing from the talents of others in an effort to create an even better show. Not only was he incredibly welcoming and gracious to those who shared the stage with him, but the resulting musicality was all for the benefit of those in the audience…again, myself included. He certainly gained a new fan by collaborating with some of my longtime favorites.

Business translation: Don’t be afraid to seek out partnerships that will not only further your company reputation, but can potentially introduce your products and services to new audiences. Obviously, be strategic in seeking partnerships that complement your brand, but do invite others to your sandbox, and invite partners that will provide an even greater benefit to your customers.

Lyle is a Pioneer

He is a new breed of singer-songwriter. He successfully broke the mold of traditional country music, tying in bluegrass, big band, folk and jazz. For this reason, he has the respect of not only the music community, but his incredibly diverse fan base.

Business Translation: I’m not saying you should be all things to all people, because in business, that can be very tough. What I am saying is this: bring something new and exciting to your industry. Reframe a product or service in a new package that creates buzz and excitement among your customers.

Whether you’re a Lyle Lovett fan or not, there are some key lessons to be learned from his success. While we can help you support your customers with reliable hosting services, or help you, or your customers, sell your products and services online through our various ecommerce solutions, it’s up to you to keep these straight-forward, no-nonsense business traits top of mind in your day-to-day practices.

And P.S. If you’re a music lover and cherish the greats like I do, book your Cayamo cabin for 2011. Take a look at this video of Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt filmed onboard a past Cayamo cruise if you need more enticement…

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