Business Lessons That Can Be Learned from Dick Clark

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On April 18th, American pop culture lost icon Dick Clark at age 82. While best known to the American public as an entertainer, behind the scenes he was an opportunistic entrepreneur. His company, Dick Clark Productions, has become an entertainment empire. There were many things that Clark did right to position himself and his company to enduring success. What are some of the lessons that today’s entrepreneur can learn from “ America’s Oldest Teenager’?

Innovation can come from improving upon something that it already being done.   Dick Clark was a pioneer in the entertainment industry, but he did not invent anything. While “American Bandstand” is known for keeping up with the trends, it was not the first or only music show on television.

Know your market, and listen to the needs of your market. Clark did this by staying current with trends within music, which ensured that he was able to sustain his place in the market, even amidst rapidly changing tastes. He observed and listened to what his audience wanted and his programming reflected the taste of his audience.

Know yourself.  Dick Clark has a very recognizable image in American culture, because he was the same person in the 1960’s as he was in the 2000’s.  While he watched the trends occur and provided a platform for trendy musicians, he did not embody them. He was himself throughout his career, and everyone who associated with him knew what to expect.

Opportunity can come from openings left by your competitors. Clark created the American Music Awards after ABC had lost the Grammy Awards. The American Music Awards focused on what was popular and featured a great amount of performances, which differed from the Grammy’s, which rewarded musicians based on artistic merit, not popularity. Many other award shows produced by Clark’s company would follow the same format, as the priority was to win over viewers.

Maintain a good reputation. Throughout Clark’s career, he maintained the image of a clean-cut “All- American” and this image was very comforting to audience members of all ages. He took great care to ensure that his reputation remained intact as well. At the end of the day, a good reputation is essential for success, both personally and professionally.

Source:   Rosenthal, Phil. “Dick Clark a Shrewd Businessman as Much as Legendary Showman.” Chicago Tribune., 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <;.

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