THE BLOG

What Brands Can Learn From Dolly Parton

03/07/2014 15:59 BST | Updated 01/09/2014 10:59 BST

Dolly Parton appeared for the first time at this year's Glastonbury festival and the 68 year old has become the most talked about act of the festival with over 100,000 turning out to see her, let alone the viewers tuning in on their TVs.

She is the epitome of the American dream - poor girl becomes rich and famous.

She's certainly at the pinnacle of her career and definitely deserves the title of 'Queen of Country Music'.

As I sat and watched her performance on the BBC's coverage of Glastonbury, I thought she was awe inspiring and it struck me that brands could learn so much from the enduring 'Dolly' brand.

Of course Mrs P is not without talent, singing and writing her own style of music. But what sets her apart from most of her contemporaries is her business acumen and innate marketing skills. After all, her theme park Dollywood in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, is a multi million dollar business and growing with the addition of the 'DreamMore' Resort opening in 2015.

Consistency - Dolly has been singing and writing since she first burst onto the scene at the tender age of 10 years old and she's still going strong.

Tenacity - Dolly was determined to build a solo career even when her mentor and producer Porter Wagoner, was starting to frustrate her dream.

Perseverance - Dolly is definitely in for the long haul, she wasn't interested in being a one hit wonder and blowing the dosh. She didn't just want to be known as a country singer, she wanted to be a 'global sensation'.

Honesty - She endears her audience to her honesty. We all know she's had plastic surgery, wears wigs, and has spent a fortune on her looks, as she so often quotes 'it takes a lot of money to look this cheap!'

Relevant - Over the years, she remains relevant by re-inventing herself, instead of being a homely, comfy image, we now have a slimmed down 'uber' glamorous Dolly, while her famous chest has become even more pronounced! She's also great at doing 'First's', Glastonbury Festival is a great example. She certainly knows how to use a platform (stage) to promote her new album, 'Blue Smoke'

Values - Although she has re-invented herself, she remains true to her routes. Even at Glastonbury, she may be dressed from head to toe in white, which only she can get away with, by reminding us all that she's no diva and knows all about mud, growing up on a farm in Tennessee.

Timing - Dolly was certainly born at the right time and grew up in the right state, with Nashville being the capital; and for those of you who don't know, it also happens to be the "home of country music", and is a major music recording and production centre.

Humanity - Dolly's rhetoric and ideals are encapsulated in her establishment of http://uk.imaginationlibrary.com/ The Imagination Library, which helps to improve the educational opportunities for children in our communities.

SWOT analysis - She certainly knows her strengths and weaknesses, turning any threat into an opportunity.

You could say that her weaknesses are her poor background, being labeled a 'Hick', being a woman in the music industry and a blonde, which would have meant she wasn't taken very seriously.

She has certainly turned these weaknesses to her advantage, even writing the 'dumb blonde' song, with the telling lyrics 'just because I'm blonde, don't think I'm dumb'. And I'm sure she used her two very large assets to disarm anybody in person, when she was striking a business deal!

When her style of music was under threat with the rise in popularity of rock and pop, instead of ignoring it she embraced it. She collaborated with Kenny Rogers on the Bee Gees song 'Islands in the Stream', which went on to be a pop number one in 1983 selling over two million physical copies in the US.

She doesn't need a Boston Group Consultant to tell her the difference between her rising stars and cash cows. Her business acumen certainly came through, when she refused to let go of the rights to her song 'I Will Always Love You' to Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager. Years later, she reaped the benefit of her decision, when the song was used for the film 'The Bodyguard' and was made a huge hit by Whitney Houston's rendition and is one of the biggest singles of the last 25 years.

The next thing you'll know, there will be a degree course in how to build a brand the Dolly Parton way.

Long may her brand and her legacy endure.