I went to see Prince on Friday. Utter genius, over two hours of a blistering tour de force. Even if you can't stand him, you couldn't help but admire the talent and showmanship.
Here is a man famous for self indulgence, almost willfuly pissing off his fans at every turn. Yet when gets on stage, none of that matters. Especially when, as was the case this time, he obviously had designed a show meant to be a crowdpleaser. The best loved songs, played in full, without the odd jazz noodlings and frustrating snippets of the past.
Because he seems to have finally understood that enduring success comes down to knowing why people loved you in the first place, and why they might love you now.
That's shouldn't be news to brand owners and creative types, but it kind of is.
If people care at all, it's on their terms, and the reasons they enjoy your product and, if you're lucky, enjoy your advertising or even just recall it for something, won't be anything to do with what's in a brand onion or hidden reference in your 60 second extravanganza.
Which is why it's always more sensible to start with what people care about and work back.
Just as I saw people dancing to 1999 and the more clued up few in raptures over a Sign 0 The Times with real menace, while no one seemed to bother about a very, very small number of newer songs....what is about what you're working that will strike a real cord with people, and what will be over-indulgent, self referential irrelevance?