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  • Writer's pictureMariane Bekker

Timeless Growth Strategies: Learning from Wham!'s Success Story



Wham!, the iconic duo comprised of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, became one of the most successful bands of their era. With over 30 million records sold globally, they quickly conquered the world in less than four years.


Their journey holds valuable lessons that startup founders can draw inspiration from. Let's explore five key lessons that can guide you on your path to success.


Lesson 1: Persistence and going the extra mile can turn rejections into opportunities


Persistence and going the extra mile can turn rejections into opportunities.

When Wham!'s first demo got rejected by all music managers, they did something unexpected. They tracked down one manager's house and personally dropped their tape. Guess what? He ended up signing them!



Lesson 2: Embrace change and be willing to pivot when needed


Starting out, Wham! captured hearts with songs about rebellion and challenging norms. But as they grew popular, they no longer experienced the challenges that inspired their previous songs, and they realized they needed a new direction. They made a bold move into pop music and released 'Club Tropicana'! Adapting to new experiences led to their continued success.


Lesson 3: Set clear and measurable goals, then work hard to achieve them


Wham! had a clear goal of achieving four number-one songs in a year, and they tirelessly pursued it. They worked relentlessly, consistently striving for greatness, and they nailed it! In 1984, 'Wake me up before you go-go', 'Freedom', 'Everything she wants' and 'Last Christmas' topped number 1.


Define clear goals for your startup, and work hard to achieve them.


Lesson 4: Understand and cater to your target audience


Despite the press's skepticism, Wham! stayed true to their target audience — young girls — and crafted their style, performances, and music to captivate them. They knew the power of connecting authentically with their fans. They understood the importance of knowing their audience and creating meaningful connections with them.


Lesson 5: Harness the power of viral marketing


Even in the pre-social media era, Wham! understood the remarkable impact of going viral. They captivated the world by selflessly donating all their “Last Christmas” earnings to charity. This act of generosity grabbed headlines and spread like wildfire across news outlets. But that's not all—Wham! created history as the first Western band to perform in China, causing a global frenzy.


Wham!'s remarkable success holds valuable lessons for startup founders. By embracing persistence, adaptability, goal-setting, audience understanding, and creative marketing, founders can pave their own path to remarkable success. Let Wham!'s journey inspire you to create your own startup success story!


 

Mariane Bekker is a passionate advocate for women in tech, an angel investor, and the founder & CEO of Upward Recruiting, a premier boutique recruitment agency connecting companies with exceptional diverse tech talent. With over a decade of experience leading diverse engineering teams at VC-Backed startups, she’s navigated the intricacies of the startup landscape and understands the unique needs and aspirations of founders. Follow her LinkedIn and Twitter for insights, industry trends, and valuable resources about Startups, Tech, and Diversity.

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Jul 08, 2023
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Mariane Bekker is a passionate advocate for women in tech, an angel investor, and the founder & CEO of Upward, a premier boutique recruitment agency connecting companies with exceptional diverse tech talent. With over a decade of experience building diverse engineering teams at leading startups, she’s navigated the intricacies of the startup landscape and understands the unique needs and aspirations of founders. Follow her LinkedIn and Twitter for insights, industry trends, and valuable resources about Startups, Tech, and Diversity.

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