Bold Action And The “Billy Joel Effect”

Billy Joel. 

This famous singer/songwriter was once invited to give a talk at Vanderbilt University.

In the auditorium where the talk was being held, they had a piano there for Billy so he could talk about his songs and even play a few.

At the end of the talk, Billy Joel opened the floor for students to ask questions.

A young freshman by the name of Michael Pollack put his hand up, and asked, “My favorite song of yours is New York State of Mind. Can I play piano while you sing?”

Now Billy Joel has no idea whether this kid was any good. 

When you watch the video, listen very carefully to Billy Joel’s voice when he says, “Okay” (it’s reveals exactly how he feels about the request).

So as the kid gets up on stage Billy asks him, “What key do you play it in?”

Michael says, “Any key you want.”

You can tell Billy is a bit nervous so he walks over to the piano and goes over the music with Michael.

As you can imagine, this kid just put himself under a lot of stress.

I mean he’s playing for Billy Joel AND all of his peers who he’ll be facing the next four years if this goes badly.

So what happened?

The kid killed it.

He was incredible. He did a solo. He was perfect and then at the end, Billy Joel really, really praised him a lot.

Not long after, someone found a video of this event on YouTube and decided to email Michael and ask him, “What has happened in your life as a result of all these YouTube videos?”

Michael said, “Well, I want to be a singer/songwriter and performer when I graduate from college, and everybody in the music industry either knows me by name or all I have to do is say “Billy Joel Vanderbilt University” and they know instantly what I’m referring to.”

Do you have any doubt Michael Pollack will have opportunities land on his doorstep?

That one daring little act put him on the map and his life will never be the same again. 

It’s that kind of Bold Action that gets people’s attention.

It’s that kind of Bold Action that will differentiate you from all of your competitors and have opportunites land in your lap.

Sure you can advertise all you want.

You can put up billboards, hand out flyers, do direct mail, put commercials on TV and radio, and whatever else.

But none of that can compare to doing something EXTRAORDINARY that people will notice.

Advertising is what all your competitors do.

Taking bold action is what a marketer does.

Back in 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit I went down to George Bell’s rug cleaning facility to help him rescue rugs in New Orleans. 

When I came back my business partner sent out a press release about what I did.

As a result of my story I got interviewed on local TV and on a Nationwide radio program with the CBC radio.

For months afterwards people came in and commented on what I did and shared stories of some of the disasters they went through.

But the biggest impact this Bold Action did was transform the image of my company from an ordinary area rug cleaning company to one people knew LOVES rugs as much as they did.

Advertising could never have gotten me a result like that.

But bold action did. 

And bold action is just some of the marketing love we give out all the time in the RugLovers College. Get you’re lovin’ here…

Stephen Dusty Roberts

P.S. To see the Billy Joel – Michael Pollack video yourself go to youtube and type in Billy Joel Vanderbilt University and you’ll see a bunch of videos. Or you can just go here