Rockin’ a WOMM life

By Ted Wright March 5, 2008

Recently I had a chance to spend some time with Ken Block the lead singer of the band Sister Hazel. For those of you that don’t know Sister Hazel, they came out of Gainesville, Florida about 15 years ago, they have had several hits you have heard on the radio and and play to a loyal and growing fan.

What makes Sister Hazel blogabble here has also allowed them to continue to grow and prosper commercially –  their total adoption of the principles of word of mouth marketing. Since the beginning of their band, the guys in Sister Hazel have used the phrase “No Fans, No Band” as a guide to their every decision. In practice this has meant that for the past 15 years they have been focused on the three keys to great word of mouth marketing: be interesting, be relevant and be authentic.

In an era when many bands are commercially viable for 18 months or less, Sister Hazel is now in it’s second decade of rocking it’s fan base.  In every action the band takes they first consider “What is the Sister Hazel story that fans are going to take away from this action?” This ever present focus has lead Sister Hazel to ground breaking practices like allowing fans (“Hazel Nuts”) to go to the band’s web site and request free tickets for their friends (“Virgins”) who have never been to a Sister Hazel show before.  The Hazel Nuts then take the Virgins to the show. The music is great, the community feeling is fabulous and oui la – new Hazel Nuts are created. Using WOMM strategies and tactics, Sister Hazel has gone from college band to being a “movement” in one of the most commercially difficult periods in North American music history.

If you’d like to hear more about this story straight from one of the band’s founding members check out the posting above with Sister Hazel’s lead singer Ken Block talking about WOMM from a rock and roll prospective.

Word of mouth marketing leading to long term success. Now that rocks!


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