I like Seth Godin. He’s smart, a marketing wizard, and a genuinely nice guy. And recently he pointed me at a story about Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts that’s had me thinking.

Who’s your drummer? Who’s your singer? And most important, does it matter?

I’m a singer and guitar player. During college and again when I was about forty years old I played in bands. I remember when I was 19 I once used the words “this is Joe; he’s my drummer”. Just as Mick Jagger found out when he referred to Charlie Watts that way, I found out that Joe didn’t like being referred to as “my drummer”. Joe was 18. He screamed at me for calling him “my drummer”, but the argument was short-lived; it ended when I told him I’d have been OK if he called me his singer.

But just as Charlie Watts was angry with Mick Jagger, Joe was angry with me, and I had put him in that frame of mind. Believe me, I never again committed that faux pas.

What messages are you putting out?

Luckily, not too many marketing issues are about “yours” and “mine”. But when you send out a message are you thinking carefully about who might read it and what their reaction could be? And when you send out message after message to the Internet, are you sure your “voice” is what you want it to be?

Reach me here. I’ll tell you who your drummer is.

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