A reporter asked AC/DC’s Angus Young, “Would you agree that your band has essentially made the same album 15 times?”
Angus replied, “Hell no! We’ve made the same album 17 times!”
There’s no denying that AC/DC’s no-frills, pelvis-grinding signature sound. But, they’re instantly recognizable and beloved by fans. For decades, the bad boys from down under have shrugged off critics, mocked music trends and stayed true to their brand.
It’s the same formula that drives McDonalds, Coke, Starbucks and most successful companies.
Then again, the scrap heap is filled with companies that were consistent and dependable…but got vaporized by competitors. Sears, ToysRUs and Radio Shack thought they were untouchable. But, they offered nothing proprietary. So, we bought clothes, Legos and batteries elsewhere and kicked those American icons to the curb.
Being consistent goes against our insatiable appetite for new, shiny things. We’ll line-up to buy the latest phone, or swap streaming channels in a heartbeat. As customer loyalty is fleeting, it seems everything is up for grabs. That’s probably why 90% of start-ups fail.
So, is it better to stay consistent, or be new and different?
Here’s my take. Consistency only works when you deliver something people crave and have come to depend on. If you’ve just gotta have a Big Mac, Coke or venti mocha latte, you gravitate toward brands that’ve earned your trust.
Why mess with perfection?
Then there’s Angus Young, who turns 67 today. His band still reigns as one of the top rock bands in the world. So Angus, what’s the secret to AC/DC’s success? “We still write songs for 17-year-olds. We stuck to what we did best and found that’s our strength, not our weakness.”