What in god’s name is Houdini, Disney, and Sinatra’s names doing in the same sentence? As a social coach and entrepreneur, I’ve discovered that one of the most powerful accelerators for each of these areas is your ability to create “Celebrity Buzz” about yourself.
Each of these great men achieved legendary success in their fields by deploying strategies to raise their “Celebrity” status. These are the same strategies used in order to create that magical “fairy dust” that compels people to assume that they should be listened to.
And while some of these strategies may inspire, shock, and even upset you; using any one of these could take your business, branding, or venture to the next level.
Here are three famous strategies that can change your life:
1. Harry Houdini’s strategy to create “buzz”
Houdini was one of history’s greatest escape artists. No one could match his ability to dazzle an audience with just a pair of handcuffs. However, it wasn’t just about the actual feat of getting out of the contraptions that made Houdini so successful. The man was an entertainer and master of suspense. Take for example, his reputation for accepting the most challenging handcuffs that anyone could come up with.
Imagine the excitement around this. He’d be on stage, rustling around with the cuffs out of plain sight. Imagination would be the audiences only guide. So they waited. And waited. And with every second that passed, it would feel as if time began to slow down completely.
All of a sudden a slight panic would spread across the audience..What if he’s stuck? What will that do to his career? He’s supposed to be unstoppable and yet..maybe he’s met his match..
Held in total suspense, the curtains would suddenly burst open! He’d snap the cuffs off, and thunderous applause would echo across the stadium. Houdini understood how to command attention using the colorful palette of people’s emotions.
“My brain is the key that sets my mind free.” – Harry Houdini
So how do you apply this in your business and life? People are drawn to the narrative of a worthy hero who overcomes difficulty. It’s inspiring and it moves them on a deep, emotional level.
Let’s say you’re running a seminar, or some kind of live event. As a speaker of your brand it’s so important to command people’s attention. If you’re well-practiced in your acting skills, you could easily create a similar pattern interrupt as if something were going wrong in your speech.
Although the small “mistake” may seem like a minor detail, it’s those details that linger in people’s heads. Make 100% sure you have this well-practiced. One of Houdini’s biggest lessons that he learned early on in life was to never practice in public.
2. Walt Disney’s strategy to create “buzz”
If you’ve ever read “When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead” by Jerry Weintraub you may recall a story he shares about Disney. (In case you don’t know who Jerry Weintraub is: he brought back Sinatra’s career, took Elvis on tour, and virtually dominated the entertainment industry as a producer and agent single-handedly).
Weintraub had a meeting set up with Walt Disney in his early years as an agent where he was flown out to meet Disney in Los Angeles.
He arrives at Disney’s office and ends up waiting not 3 or 4 or even 5 hours. He waits 5 days until he is finally called in. Flustered and a bit intimidated by this point, Weintraub is sent through a long hallway, where all of Disney’s oscars are put up on display.
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney
He opens the door, enters Disney’s massive and spacious office to find a focused Walt drawing at his desk. The “negotiation” doesn’t last too long. Weintraub listens to Disney’s request, agrees, and he’s out the door.
In retrospect, Jerry couldn’t help but respect Disney for creating that reputation and placing hoops in front of him to jump through.
So what does that mean for you and your social life, business, and relationships? No one who is easy to access is valued highly.
While I don’t think you should “fake” it, I do think it’s important to put a premium on your time and your attention. When you become more ruthless about your time and attention, this one strategy will make them, like Disney, seriously valuable commodities.
3. Frank Sinatra’s strategy to create “buzz”
Frank Sinatra’s life story is marked by a lot of drinking, socializing, and overall debauchery. At the same time, the man was able to fit in time to have one of the most successful music, movie, and business careers in history. The question on everyone’s mind: How?
Sinatra had a reputation throughout Hollywood for being extremely ruthless about his inner circle. He would bring in people of extremely high status who he wanted to learn from, and he’d subtly and not so-subtly adopt their behaviors.
He’d pick up little nuances, character traits, idiosyncrasies, down to the phraseology; molding them together to create his own character.
“I think my greatest ambition of life is to share with others what I know.” – Frank Sinatra
Just as he did that, you’ve got to do this in your business, social life, and even in your relationships. Get around these successful people in your life and adopt those little behaviors here and there to mold into your own personality and your branding.
Whether you know it or not, you’re constantly changing every second and every minute. Nothing is static. The people who I’ve seen become successful are the ones who continuously surround themselves with men who are far above they are.
George Clooney modeled Cary Grant; Sinatra modeled Humphrey Bogart; Julius Caesar modeled Alexander the Great. Modeling extraordinary people can help you figure out who you want to be and what you want to look like.
Which of these three is your favorite strategy and why? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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