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Excellence in Action – Walking off the Earth

Formed in 2006, Walk of the Earth is a Canadian multi-genre band that humorously lists their genre as “good” on their Facebook page. Faced with all the challenges of the music industry, this Canadian band combined hard work with innovation to build their success. Their innovations are as multi-dimensional as their music is multi-genre, combining both “product innovation” and “process innovation” to achieve a degree of business model innovation; cover versions of past and current songs, original material, a frequently a cappella sound, highly original and creative low-budget self-produced videos, and self-distribution via YouTube and iTunes.

They used social media and word of mouth to promote their gigs and tours until January 2012, when they rocketed to international visibility when one of their videos – a cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know, with all 5 band members playing a single guitar – clocked up over 35 million views in under 2 weeks. Goyte tweeted that it was “Hilarious and brilliant”.

Many of the people who saw it looked at their other work and became fans. After self-publishing and releasing two full-length albums of original material and tens of reworked innovative cover versions over a number of years, the band finally had made it big.

 

On 1 Feb 2012, just days after the Gotye cover took-off, Columbia Records announced that it had signed the indie band. The response to the video turned the five-year-old Canadian group into newsworthy sensation in days.

The band were (and remain) unaware of the BEX Excellence Alignment Model but nonetheless paid attention to its criteria. They had good leadership with the vision and perseverance to devise and implement good strategy, they cared about their people (themselves and their support crew) and managed their limited resources and communications in innovative ways to deliver great product to their customers (their fans). Their approach has delivered results for all their stakeholders and hopefully they will continue to do so for years to come.

While they may have little to learn from business, business can learn from them …and enjoy some entertainment along the way. When it comes to innovation, be prepared to look outside your industry and entertain all ideas royally as one of them may be king.