“The Boss” gives us a communications lesson in how to reinforce an enduring brand.


The E Street Band has been Bruce Springsteen’s primary backing band since 1972.  From the beginning, dating back to their days in Asbury Park, NJ, they cared deeply about their fans and didn’t hesitate to show it.  They knew how to keep the emotional tie going to maintain their loyalty. 

In his Ad Age article “What Bruce Springsteen Can Teach You About Building a Brand That Lasts,” Steve Goldner reminds us that there are inevitable tests along the way that can impact your position in the marketplace.  They are sometimes “dramatic and unexpected, or, more often than not, banal . . . “  For Springsteen, the first was the death of Danny Federici in 2008 and the second, the recent death of Clarence Clemons.

How to manage this crisis?  How to bring everyone along to a new normal?

Springsteen knew that he had to accomplish several things at once — help the band heal, convey his commitment to his fans, and ensure the future of the band.  It had to be real and consistent with his core values.

What did he do? He created the moment.  Band intros were a signature event at every show.  Fans looked forward to them, counted on them, responded to them. “The Boss” used this time to directly address the void that was on their minds – “That’s right, we’re missing a few.  But the only thing I can guarantee you tonight is that if you’re here, and we’re here, they’re here.”

Mission accomplished.


Dramatic changes are underway as founding partners and name partners retire or leave to launch or join boutique firms.  In some cases, firms are splitting into new entities due to differing philosophies about client service.

Perception is everything.  What are your clients hearing?  Who are they hearing it from?  What is their take-away?

Taking a lesson from “The Boss,” communicate with clients directly to solidify the value of your brand.    

For clients, the transition needs to be seamless and it is best if they hear about it from you – the commitment to quality and quality of the work will not change; the firm is healthy; they will not be affected by internal changes.  

If a recent or upcoming dramatic event has occurred/occurs at your firm, here are three steps to follow:

    √ Determine who will tell clients

    √ Know the story you will tell and tell it consistently

    √ Make it personal, heartfelt and reassuring.