Joshua Bell and the Washington Post: A Story About Positioning

Joshua Bell and the Washington Post Experiment

Modern Marketing for Musicians and Music Teachers: With Allan Dib, Author of The 1-Page Marketing Plan

Allan Dib is the owner of marketing firm Success Wise. He has developed businesses in a variety of industries and coaches entrepreneurs all around the globe on best marketing and business practices.  Check out his book The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd on Amazon. It's one of my favorites!

This story about Joshua Bell and the Washington Post is very much a positioning story. In 2007, The Washington Post did a bit of a social experiment. They had Joshua Bell, who's a world-renowned violinist -- he plays a three-and-a-half-million-dollar Stradivarius violin -- he played with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and for an hour, he gets paid about $60,000.

The Washington Post did a bit of a social experiment.  Before a show, they had Bell set up as a busker at a railway station. For an hour's work, he got paid $32.

He played the exact same set that he played at the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. In one scenario, he made $32. In the other scenario, he made $60,000 -- the difference being positioning.

If you're positioning yourself as a street busker, then you get paid as such. If you're positioning yourself as a world-class performer arriving at the place where people really value what you do, then you're going to get paid accordingly as well. A lot of the time, people will appraise you at your own value.

Having said that, you can't cheat. You can't just say, "Hey. I'm a world-class performer," and then you get out your instrument and you can't really play at a world-class level. Obviously, you have to have the skills according to how you're positioning yourself.

A lot of the times, you'll see people who are just amazing, but maybe they have low self-esteem, or for some reason they position themselves much lower than they really are.   Having that difference of positioning -- that can make a world of difference to your income.