We’ve had the same songs stuck in our heads for quite a while now, but we’re not complaining and we don’t think we’re alone. Like many others who have seen or heard musical sensation Hamilton, we can’t help but hum its songs and dubsmash its rap battles all day long. It’s just that good. But with its unprecedented success and seemingly limitless potential for growth, we also can’t help but wonder, will Hamilton ever be satisfied?
Coming off of its freshman year, Hamilton has a record-breaking list of accolades and a tremendous fan following. Not to mention a reputation for revolutionizing Broadway by bringing a fresh perspective on American history with its diverse cast and hip-hop sound. But now it’s about to spread its wings and venture beyond New York to the rest of the world—and who knows what might happen along the way.
Right now, Hamilton is an genuine artistic masterpiece. The show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and his team have brought something entirely unique to the stage, and yet they’ve managed to handle the spotlight with humility and poise. From a marketer’s point of view, they’ve been outstanding brand managers. They’ve let pure passion be the driving force behind their show and seen financial success as merely a bonus. This is inherently art for the people. And we have every expectation that Hamilton will retain that authenticity as it expands—but that’s not to say that financial temptation won’t be arriving at its doorstep regularly.
We’ve seen it before. Countless times. A wildly successful business looking to capitalize on that success by expanding quickly. And unfortunately, for many brands, that means transitioning from a people focus to a business focus. That is, losing sight of the value you bring to people’s lives in favor of the dollars you bring to your pockets.
We’re talking about selling out.
We’re talking about compromising the integrity of a brand. Pulling and pushing and stretching its popularity in so many ways that it’s no longer recognizable. Forcing its presence into so many areas of people’s lives that they forget where it came from and why it ever mattered. Diluting the essence, the purpose, the soul of a brand until people see right through it.
We’re talking about $14 burgers at Hamilton, the restaurant. We’re talking about front-row tickets to Hamilton on Ice. We’re talking about Hamilton dolls and action figures causing mayhem on Black Friday. We’re talking about replacing something invaluable with a dollar sign. But if you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?
So, business world, before you do that to Hamilton, listen to what people are talking about.
They’re talking about how the colorful cast has highlighted the strength of our nation’s diversity. They’re talking about how the street rap being brought to the theater has bridged distant segments of our culture. They’re talking about how a whole generation of young people has been inspired to care about our nation’s history again. They’re talking about how passion, ambition, and relentless dedication has brought a masterpiece to the world.
People are talking about the show’s pure value. And without knowing it, they’re talking about the drive behind a dream:
“Making a new musical is indulging a dream. It’s wildly creative, invigorating, joyful, painful and sometimes deeply rewarding artistically and intellectually. Making money is not part of the process.” – Jeffrey Seller, lead producer of Hamilton
So, say no to this, Hamilton. Stay true to your original vision, and keep the dream alive. And hey, business world—believe it or not, that’s actually what’s best for business, too.
Photo credit: Rolling Stone