There’s an anecdote I love that says “Poor people are crazy. Rich people are eccentric”. And that leads us into a chicken and egg question …
Are celebrities wild and crazy because they’re rich and famous, or are they rich and famous because they’re wild and crazy?
It’s pretty easy to argue that one feeds the other, but I have to go with the latter because getting attention is marketing 101. It’s the first job that every brand, or rather, that brand’s packaging has to do.
The Risky Business Strategy
Tom Cruise’s career is a great case study. There are lots of people who have amassed huge fortunes and achieved great fame. But his case is very special because we can pinpoint exactly the one thing he did that started it all.
The year was 1983. The movie was Risky Business. And the one single (and risky) scene that took a relatively unknown actor and launched him into a superstar was Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear to Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock and Roll. Pretty easy to read that scene in a script and think you’re going to look like a total fool if you do it.
But that’s the point. It’s just another version of “feel the fear and do it anyway”. You have to own it with unflinching confidence. And he’s been capitalizing on that first big success ever since and rolling it into bigger and bigger successes.
The next time you’re brainstorming on how to create your own break-out moment or a launching point for something, make sure it’s a little scary. There has to be a risk. And sure, maybe you just think Tom Cruise is crazy.
Eccentric maybe. Crazy … not a chance.