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The Minutiae of Personal Branding: Say Who You Are and Get What You Want!

February 28, 2010 78 comments

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By Marquis Codjia

In today’s corporate world, workers need to relentlessly seek new ways to shape not only their careers but also how fast and dynamic their professional evolution shifts. They need to differentiate themselves while also appearing to be interested in the effectiveness of collective labor. Put simply, they can’t be remarked as individualists within the corporate world even though every tad of social pressure outside their workplace incentivizes them to act individualistically.

Clearly, they need to position themselves, in the strictest sense of the marketing verbiage.

In marketing, positioning a product or a brand refers to the ways and the means that a business enterprise utilizes to create an identity of that product or brand in the minds of a target market. In other words, effective positioning allows firms to make their clientele believe what they would like them to believe. Simple as that.

There exists at the moment an abundant literature in the fields of psychology, communication, social leadership and personal branding, among other social sciences, which deals at length with the advantages of effective personal positioning. Politicians, celebrities and corporate executives routinely learn the nuts and bolts of sophisticated positioning techniques to give a big forward-leap to their careers and improve markedly their social standing.

What we’re attempting to analyze here relates to how best an individual can comport him/her-self to seize most opportunities in life and in their socio-professional journeys. We do not posit that not actively engaging in branding diminishes one’s chances; sometimes, “staying put”, not doing anything may turn out to be the best thing to do!

Interestingly, the best positioning technique for individuals turns out to be actually deep-seated in the much acclaimed marketing mix concept developed in 1960 by prominent American marketer E. Jerome McCarthy, which revolved around the 4 P classification: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Combining these four precepts with a certain degree of shrewdness and competence will get the determined individual in you most of what you want if you know how to say who you are.

Know who you are

A very famous and old European proverb read cucullus non facit monachum, the cowl does not make the monk. This literally means that individuals cannot be judged or regarded a certain way because of the quality of their garments. Or rather should not. Though this medieval sage saying may have been veridical in specific circumstances at a certain time, history and social experience teach us that the cowl you wearing actually tells a great deal about what kind of monk you are.

Hence you still need to wear a certain type of cowl to position yourself adequately.

The first step in crafting your personal positioning vis-à-vis others is to know intimately your intrinsic pros and cons. In other words, your strengths and your weaknesses. This step is crucial because it helps you take the veil off your own limits while understanding your core qualities. Having a solid understanding and a firm grasp of one’s qualities shields us from being (negatively) surprised when others describe our human traits in less flattering terms. Also, this exercise helps identify and correct the ‘weakest links’ in our personalities and accentuate the forte.

Set your price tag

One thing you must gauge in your interactions with fellow workers or friends is how much you value yourself. How cheaply or expensively you value yourself is closely tied to how you’d like other folks to judge you. Think about this process in terms of education, family upbringing, and professional affiliations.

This step is equally pertinent because it is positively correlated to our external perception; employers routinely will set compensation levels based on your academic background, among other factors. Thus, get the necessary knowledge in the fields that are important to you so as to raise your “price tag” or salary expectations.

Be at the right place at the right time

Defining yourself a certain way and acquiring the necessary know-how to heighten your salary expectations and social status goes hand in hand with maintaining a certain lifestyle. You must thoroughly pick your acquaintances and the areas know where you are seen.

Know where you hang out. Depending on your industry, you should know where you are. That entails what networking abilities you should develop and what professional or social organizations you should belong to.

Promote yourself

Promotion within the corporate landscape refers to the communication systems and styles you use on a daily basis. It’s ingrained in your verbal and non-verbal abilities; it’s your communication style. Personal communication also involves your reputation.

It encompasses how you spread information about yourself, be it in your regular everyday life or online, especially in social portals or forums like Facebook. You must strive to talk the same jargon as the individual you’re attempting to create in you. Simply stated, the industry you’re trying to enter has to have the same language as you.