Supergroups hit the branding reset button, STP misses an opportunity

Brands have a flavor, style or sound that mean something to their fans. I recall hearing the CEO of Coca-Cola speak of letters received after ditching their time-tested formula which referred to the change as "messing with my fondest childhood memories."

For those of you tied to auditory memories from the 90's, Stone Temple Pilots release their newest album this month minus Scott Weiland, who was apparently fired in February from the group he founded twenty years ago. Weiland and STP are now trading legal actions as they cling to what they believe fans want from them and their talents, legacy be damned.

Scott Weiland's authenticity always reminded me of the pain in Johnny Cash's lyrics. He lived it. So when Weiland joined former members of Guns 'N' Roses to create supergroup Velvet Revolver, fans of both bands -- along with plenty of curious onlookers -- were there to buy tickets and albums.

As I listen to the new STP, it's reminiscent of the old STP but is clearly different. Just like Velvet Revolver was reminiscent of GNR and STP, the new Stone Temple Pilots shouldn't be satisfied with being reminiscent of the old STP.

Velvet Revolver gave fans a new sound from their familiar favorites. Sure, Velvet Revolver wasn't built to last (is any stage big enough for Slash and Weiland?) Why Stone Temple Pilots didn't go the route of the supergroup after recruiting Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington is beyond me. It seems they may have cast their future hopes in the wake of Sublime, which is now Sublime with Rome. You can probably catch them at a county fair next summer.

If you're a fan of 90's alternative and grunge, you really just want to see your favorite band members NOT die of a drug overdose. I often lament the passing of Kurt Cobain and wonder what might have been, all the while lamenting the last decade for STP. Your fans want you to move on and make great music, not headlines.

Words, names, sounds mean things. They are your signature; your brand. Stop messing with people's fondest memories. Make some new ones.

// Kyle Sexton is a marketing strategist and international speaker. His innovations have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, and his book ReMembership: New Thinking for Tomorrow's Membership Organization is fueling transformations in membership organizations throughout North America. He can be reached at 888.899.8374 or get his free resources at KyleSexton.com.

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