More Lessons from the Kid (Rock)

Posted on January 24, 2011


My last post talked about Kid Rock’s beer and merch companies that serve two purposes: giving a few of his friends jobs and generating proceeds for local charities.

While this is a great lesson in localism, there are other lessons that can be taken from Kid Rock’s playbook. Let’s face it, of all the rap-rockers who got famous in the late 90’s, Kid Rock has done the best job of building and maintaining a career. Here are some observations about Kid Rock and how they apply to your career:

Observation: Kid Rock is a media whore. For years this guy would show up at the opening of an envelope. He was at every awards show, every hall-of-fame induction and anywhere else he could get some stage and camera time.

Application: Paid remotes at cellular phone stores do not equal getting out in public. Be a part of the community. Make it known to the non-profit organizations in your area that you are available as an emcee for events. I guarantee they will come calling. These gigs won’t be paid but the exposure and contacts that result are worth the time invested.

Observation: Long before he had the resources for merchandise companies and breweries Kid Rock still always found ways to represent his hometown of Detroit. He included Detroit in his songs, talked about the city in interviews and frequently sported the logo of one of the sports franchises.

Application: Look for ways to embrace your market. You don’t have to be an ambassador like Kid Rock but it’s important to find reasons to have pride in the community and bring them to light. 

Observation: Kid Rock has evolved. He’s gone from “Bawitdaba,” and hanging out with Joe-C the midget to praising god and singing with Sheryl Crow. He doesn’t hide what he was nor does he make apologies for where he’s going.

Application: Stay in touch with what’s going on with your audience and learn to be flexible. Your audience changes their opinions and adapts to a changing world, you should too.

Observation: Kid Rock isn’t afraid to laugh at himself. At one point during his 40th birthday show he came on stage in a full-length fur coat that lights up — not exactly like the one pictured here but similar. He proceeded to do a couple of songs from his earliest days as a rapper when he was signed and quickly dropped by Jive records. The coat was ridiculous and the songs weren’t very good, but he was having fun.

Application: Don’t hide the ugly stuff. Throw it out there and laugh along with everyone else. And remember, aside from being Kid Rock, being on the air is one of the best jobs on earth. Stop being so serious about it. Relax and enjoy what you have.