Fuelled by an explosive mix of makeup, costumes and attitude, rock band KISS burst onto the music scene in 1973 and has since gone on to become a rock institution with millions of fans around the world. But, I hear you ask, a rock star bass guitarist delivering keynote and motivational business talks on the global speaking circuit?
In 2012, Gene Simmons received a lifetime achievement award from Forbes for achievements not in music, but business. KISS has sold more than 100 million records and has broken every concert attendance record set by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. However, through Simmons' genius business acumen they became more famous - at least in terms of brand recognition - for the 2500+ licensing and merchandise agreements that KISS has in place, which makes the brand worth over US $1bn.
An immigrant from Israel arriving in New York as a child, Gene Simmons brought with him a strong image of the American dream. His own vision of that dream soon began to take shape. Simmons' product was not a rock and roll band but a rock and roll brand. KISS have generated more money from merchandising, than any other artist in the history of music. Simmons also capitalised on his business savvy to create an enviable track record as the founder and president of Simmons Records, a label that was manufactured and distributed by RCA/BMG. He has become an accomplished producer of motion pictures and television projects, including New Line Cinema's Detroit Rock City. Simmons hit The New York Times best seller list with his irreverent autobiography, KISS and Make-Up.