At Blue Acorn, we’re always up for a challenge. Most recently, we were challenged to deliver a highly-complex, fan-centric, content and merchandise site for one of the biggest bands in the world on a timeline most agencies would consider unachievable. I have long believed our team to be composed of exceptionally reliable people, and this project offers irrefutable evidence of that.
As Head of Client Success at Blue Acorn, my role is to ensure that we’re delivering on our promises. Typically that requires scheduled pulse checks with the lead Client Success Manager on the project and periodic check-ins directly with the client. Due to the velocity and complexity of this project, we required a different approach. Our Client Success Manager for Metallica.com, Bill Lorimer, was in constant communication with the client. The Blue Acorn management team, including myself, stepped back and let him and the team operate without interference that would have slowed the process. They were given the green light to make decisions on the fly but given our support when they needed roadblocks knocked down. It takes significant trust in a team to be able to step back, but they proved worthy of the trust placed in them.
Three main factors drove success on this project, where any deviation from the plan would have spelled catastrophe. First, we ensured that we had the right team in place from the start. Second, as mentioned above, we empowered the team to make command decisions on the fly to remain adaptive. Third, we kept communication lines open across all sides involved. In this case, that included the Metallica team, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce OMS, Nugs.net, and Tejas.
From the minute our team flew to Metallica’s headquarters for discovery, it was clear that the right people were on the project. From the initial designs through launch, members from both sides of the table were all in. The teams collaborated on a daily basis with the understanding that there would be major business implications to Metallica if they did not meet the timeline.
The site required us to solve many complex issues. Metallica is one of the hardest working bands in the business with a massive fan base, and with that comes the need for a site that fulfills all of their wants and needs. Metallica.com is a hub for all things related to the band, from the highly interactive Fifth Member fan club to the All Within My Hands Foundation, which assists those in need through volunteering in their community and donating to charitable organizations. Music, merchandise, and media all take center stage with downloadable tracks in audiophile quality, curated apparel and accessories, and historical band content. The site allows the band to periodically release exclusive content and merchandise to fan club members before they release them to the general public, including pre-sale tickets for live shows and events. Through an integration with Nugs.net, high fidelity recordings of live shows are also available soon after each concert.
On August 27th, after the core team spent the previous week on-site tying up loose ends, I was in Metallica’s headquarters to witness the hard work culminate in a smooth launch; it was one of my prouder moments at Blue Acorn. It is a testament to what can be done when the right people dedicate themselves to fulfilling the bigger picture. Since launching that following Monday, Metallica launched a collaboration with Nixon Watches, announced they will headline Dreamforce, introduced a new whiskey brand called Blackened Whiskey, and headed out on their US tour. To say there was no wiggle room on the launch date would be an understatement.
The Blue Acorn team will head to Dreamforce to celebrate with the greater team and experience a live Metallica concert. (update: The core team is then attending the October 22nd concert in Charlotte, closer to our home base in Charleston, South Carolina. I’m looking forward to seeing how the site is received in our industry as well as how the Salesforce Commerce Cloud B2C platform takes Metallica’s business to the next level. If you are headed to Dreamforce, please look us up. We would love to meet up and chat.