Everyone has his or her own definition of what makes a business a success.
For some, it is creating jobs for people.
For others, it is introducing the world to a great new product or service.
For me, it is being able to market and brand like Bill Murray.
I will explain.
Murray--the actor and Saturday Night Live alum--has had a very pleasant show business career since the 1970s. That longevity alone in an industry where a gigantic movie star can be quickly forgotten--seen Oscar-winner Warren Beatty on screen recently?--is worthy of your respect.
But that's not the reason I am holding him up as a business role model. The recent piece in the Wall Street Journal is.
In it, the Journal explains just how hard it is to get hold of Murray to pitch him on a movie role. He doesn't have an agent or a publicist, so the only way most people can reach him is through his toll-free number. And not surprisingly, it is difficult to come by.
When you do call, you get an answering machine (and not even one with his voice on it). Murray decides if he will call back.
Here's why I find Murray's attitude so appealing.
- He is letting the market define his brand for him. No, he certainly doesn't have to accept all the silly comedies (à la Meatballs) or the totally serious roles (Lost in Translation) he is pitched, but it lets him know what people think of him.
- He is increasing his desirability. The harder it is to obtain something, the more people want it as a rule.
- Perhaps most important, it forces people to really think through why they want to contact him in the first place.
I don't know about you, but I am pretty easy to reach. And as a result, I get lots of phone calls and emails from people who are just "tire kickers," or who want to tap into as much of my expertise as they can without paying for it--especially if they have a handle on what I typically charge.
Over the years, I have gotten pretty good at dealing with these kind of people. I am polite and responsive (without giving too much away), and can keep the dealings fairly short, once I realize they are not serious.
That's good. But what would be even better is not wasting that time in the first place.
Enter the Bill Murray approach.
Yes, of course, we all can't be Bill Murray.
But we all can be a little bit harder to reach (and therefore a little bit more desirable). And we all can use more time.
I will leave it up to you to figure out what is the right level of Bill Murray-ism for your company. But it sure would be nice to free up all that time you are now spending with people who are not serious about hiring you.