What can you learn from Johnny Cash about Reinventing your Community?

Singer Johnny Cash (The Man in Black) reinvented himself using an unusual, but easy method.  His career as a singer was good, but he felt restless and stuck in the same rut.

Then he started reading his mail.

He noticed that he was receiving many letters from men in prison who were inspired by his music. Although he had never spent “hard time” in jail, he sang songs like Folsom Prison Blues that touched the hearts of those incarcerated.  He performed a concert at California’s Folsom Prison and recorded it live.  The record producers warned against it, but Johnny felt it was his calling to perform and make a recording.

The result was an overwhelming success.  The album was his biggest selling one to that point. He began performing in other penitentiaries and became known as an “outlaw” singer.  His audience changed because he listened to what they wanted from him. He forged a new image that became his signature.  His brand as an outlaw and “The Man in Black” is known and still popular today, years after his death.

I found it was easier to take my message of reinvention to different audiences.   It began to snowball.   Now I tell my clients to look at who is buying from them and find everyone who fits that demographic.   Start by seeking out who you have attracted to your community of followers. 

BUT THEN start looking for who else would be interested in the value that comes with the culture you have created.  Who else would benefit from the quality of product and service that you (and only you) deliver?  Remember: Anyone can beat you on price, but not on the value you deliver. Just learn from The Man in Black.

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