August 9, 1995 was the saddest day of my life. †Jerry Garcia died that day and it meant the end of the moveable feast that was the Grateful Dead. †Having followed the band for 21 years seeing 194 shows, making many close friends and always looking forward to the next tour, it was a heartbreaker for meÖand many, many others.
So what business lesson is there in this? †The Dead created a community of followers, an extended family, a tribe of Deadheads that were loyal enough to follow them across the country for 30 years. †Would your customers follow your business with that sort of dedication? †There arenít many businesses today that have created that degree of customer loyalty. †Who can we nameÖApple, Zappos, and TOMS Shoes come to mind, and of course there are more. †But think about all the things the Dead did to create customer loyaltyÖthey respected their fans and made it easy for fans to feel part of the band. †In the days before the internet, the Dead had a telephone Hotline that kept Deadheads informed about upcoming tours. †They had a mailing list and kept fans informed via a newsletter and even sent them records from forthcoming releases. †They created a mail order ticket service so fans like me could order tickets for out of town shows which was unheard of in the 80s and 90s.
Jerry is gone, but his legacy and the Deadís legacy lives on. †Iíve learned so much from their example. †And you can too.