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News (and Umphrey’s) on Hold?

Brand loyalty is incredibly important.  It’s what ensures repeat sales.  More importantly, it ensures growth.  Brand loyalists are likely both to make purchases and to evangelize the brands they love, helping their brand spread its reach.

Few brands generate such deep loyalty that they can take breaks and come back just as strong or stronger.  Performing artists are the quintessential example of this phenomenon.  Bands release albums and tour only when they want to (or when their label demands it), sometimes taking years off between albums or tours.  Oftentimes, the longer a band waits between offerings, the more we clamor for what they are selling.  Maybe more rare means more valuable, emotionally as well as monetarily.

So what’s up with TV programs that take random weeks off at a time?  Often.  Together.  Always.

Yes . . .

These show’s vacations seems strange for news programs, even comedic satirical programs frequently based on hilarious yet terrifying news clips from other media outlets.  The news never takes a week off, but the Best F#@cking News Team Ever does.  Frequently.

They can.  They do.  They will.  And we will continue to watch.  Why?  Because their programming is awesome!  They make our frighteningly screwed up world funny and we take comfort in that.  At least I do.

So, back to bands, I witnessed this same phenomenon on Facebook today with a band named Umphrey’s McGee.  Umphrey’s canceled a show at Crystal Bay Casino (CBC) at Lake Tahoe tonite due to “weather conditions.”  The band’s website announces the cancellation with humor and apologies.  It all sounds reasonable enough.  Except: this is the THIRD show Umphrey’s canceled in Tahoe due to “weather conditions.”  Umphrey’s had three days off between its last show and today yet chose to wait till today, day-of-show, to “try” to drive to Lake Tahoe.

Having canceled shows twice before due to snow, Umphrey’s should have known to come to Tahoe earlier.  Umphrey’s could have carried snow chains so it could cross the mountain pass.  Umphrey’s could have waited till the road re-opened only a couple hours after they announced the cancellation on their website.  Umphrey’s could just skip scheduling winter shows in Tahoe since the cancellation rate is so high.

I did not participate in the 169-post discussion about the cancellation on Umphrey’s Facebook page because I’d have to “Like” Umphrey’s to do so and right now I don’t.  Will I buy their next album?  Yes.  Will I buy another concert ticket?  So long as it’s not for a show anywhere that it might snow in the winter.  Umphrey’s is a rockin’ band that shakes the house and I will pay for that even after they abandon me on a snowy Sierra summit.  B(r)and loyalty.

When you’re outstanding at what you do, you command brand loyalty even if you take lots of vacations, cancel your concerts, or screw up occasionally.  The key is you have to be exceptional.  Otherwise, people may well lose interest or publicly attack your brand, neither of which will help its growth.

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