The Gist

  • Rap and CX innovator. Ice-T, the inventor of Gangster Rap, can be seen as a pivotal figure in the world of innovation and customer experience.
  • Career agility. Ice-T's journey from rap to acting and his rock band, Body Count, showcases the importance of pivoting and adapting to meet the evolving needs and interests of customers.
  • Good music, period. Ice-T's ability to create resonant and high-quality music has kept his fans engaged and loyal throughout his career, highlighting the significance of providing value and maintaining a strong connection with customers.

Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford. All inventors and pioneers in their own space — redefining how the world thinks, acts and consumes because of ideas that they were intrinsically passionate about.

Their ideologies and creations came from inspirations and dreams of a world that could be a better place with new technology and creations that would change the game, for all of us.

However, this list is missing one extremely important co-creator of innovation and new ways to create and connect with the world: Ice-T.

Ice-T: The Legend

That’s right — the inventor of Gangster Rap. The OG. The Grammy slinging MC that’s been around the block. Ice-T embodies all the key verses needed to deliver exceptional customer experience to customers not only for the now, but for the future — and I mean decades type of future.

Let me explain.

The reason Ice-T invented Gangster Rap was because he lived it. As a youth he was immersed into "street life" and witnessed firsthand what life was like in Crenshaw during his time in high school. As with most exceptional inventors and artists, Ice drew inspiration from the world around him, events that happened — places he lived — people he met. This laid the foundation for what would become the course for his destination of success.

Ice would go on to produce multiple records with various collaborators — breaking records, winning awards and changing the rap game, forever.

Eventually, Ice pivoted into acting and has since become a pivotal cast member on Law & Order since the early 2000s. Oh, did I mention he also has a rock band called Body Count that won a Grammy in 2021? That’s right — the legend of Ice-T continues to grow.

Related Article: CMSWire Connect Q&A: Cutting-Edge Strategies and Technologies for Enhancing Customer Experience

Ice-T and Customer Experience

But let me explain why all of this is so extremely relevant to creating great experiences for customers within the branding world we all live and breathe.

Ice-T takes what’s in his life and uses it as inspiration, but this can’t be done successfully without knowing the people of the community that he is speaking to. Ice-T has been successful because he is always innovating and extending his art and craft into new markets, channels and styles. His fans follow and support him through these channels, but, more so, he connects and resonates with new people who may have never heard of him because of his passion and desire to create something unique and new.

Learning Opportunities

The same principles apply to your brand's strategy and promise to continuously exceed your customers expectations.

Knowing your customers is the first step. As with Ice-T, he was immersed into the culture of the time and drew inspiration from that to develop his unique sound and lyrics. With your brand — you need to get out of the office and get on the street. Go to your stores, meet your customers, watch how they interact. Seeing your product being consumed with your own eyes is the best recipe for curating new ways of connecting.

Willingness and agility to pivot your strategy is the second step. Ice-T decided that his passion was pulling him toward acting. Sure, rapping would always be a core burning flame inside, but he had to follow where his heart was pulling him. As with your brand, you always need to give customers what they want — however, you’ll likely want to create new products or services that maybe your customers aren’t asking for today. When looking to achieve this, your brand must remember the roots of what drove initial success. Being able to still connect with those OG customers even if they aren’t interested in your new products will be essential to driving customer lifetime value metrics.

The Secret Sauce to Good Customer Experience

Finally, the secret sauce for generational customer experience success is simple. Create good products. Ice tweeted back in 2022, “The fact that I can still pack shows at this point in my career should motivate the young artist. If you create GOOD music with a solid fan base they’ll ride with you FOREVER. You’ll have no expiration date. When your fans say, 'There’s NO WAY I’m missin' that show!'" — Well said Ice.

This holds so much weight and value within the CX world we all love. Good products at the end of the day stand the test of time. As with Ice, creating something that resonates but also brings high quality will always keep customers coming back — even if you decide to jump into acting or create a new product or service.

The good news is, Ice-T’s life and career provides outstanding examples of how brands can continue to connect with customers long after the first connection is ever made.

Even better news, Ice-T will be sharing his poetic passions May 12 here in Austin, Texas for CMSWire’s Connect Conference. As you might guess, I’ll be there. There’s NO WAY I’m missing that show!

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