How to Win in the Age of Disruption


We live in an age of disruption. Every week, it seems there’s a new strategy, technology or social media that’s a “must use” or game-changer for your music retail business or brand. But in this endless quest for the next big bright, shiny business object, it’s easy to forget that while everything has changed, nothing is different. Trust, connection, consistency and service will always trump the next app to hit the market. And at The 2019 NAMM Show, Scott Stratten hosted an inspiring NAMM U Breakfast Session to help NAMM members navigate this age of disruption.

A marketing rebel and sales, branding and relationship expert, Stratten has transformed companies ranging from Microsoft to Pepsi with his radical insights on customer engagement. In his NAMM U Breakfast Session, he shared strategies and stories from the eye of the disruption hurricane, drawing from not only his retail experience but also from what made him who he is today: a guy in the music business who got his start managing bands—and survived to tell the tale.

Stratten related one of his favorite branding and customer-experience success stories about a Ritz-Carlton guest whose child left behind a stuffed giraffe. The hotel cleaning crew not only found the giraffe but also sent it back to the family, free of charge, with humorous photos of the giraffe enjoying its stay. (Picture the stuffed giraffe at a spa, the hotel restaurant and so forth.) The story and photos went viral, making the Ritz-Carlton look like heroes.

“My favorite part of this story isn’t even the story; it’s the authors of the story," Stratten said. "It was a front-desk clerk and a laundry worker. Two of the lowest-paid and lowest-appreciated people at a workplace are the biggest brand creators, which is the same as your business. Whoever’s dealing with the public the most, whoever’s dealing with customers or clients the most, they are your branders.”

The takeaway from the Ritz-Carlton story? “They hire good people, they train them well, and then they trust them. If you want to improve the bottom line, you improve the front line. That’s how that works.”