A major part of product launch and marketing planning, Jones said, is to reflect on the brand’s history and diversity.
“One of the things that we’re really focused [on],” he said, “is opening up the aperture of guitar to more players than ever. Some of this comes from research that we’ve done over the years that shows us while some people might believe that the electric guitar is something that is relegated to classic rock and a bygone era, the opposite in fact is truth. The reality is that the guitar is being used by more artists and more genres, in more interesting ways than ever.”
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For a company with a long history, there are always bumps. One was the ownership of the company by the CBS TV network in the 1980s, followed by employees buying Fender back to “right the ship, in terms of the quality and level of instruments,” Jones said. The current private-equity ownership group that runs the business, he said, “was connected to the Fender brand through a family relationship” with founder Leo Fender.
And it’s Fender who still ultimately provides something of a guide star for the brand, Jones said.
“He believed that artists were angels,” Jones said, “and it was his job to give them wings to fly.”