Beat competition – market thyself

In a world of where everything is a plenty, how do you stand out in the crowd? That is the question organisations, products, employees and even personalities like politicians are grappling with every day.

Products and organisations discovered the art of marketing and advertising. That’s how the smart ones thrive in the cut-throat competition that’s the marketplace. Not so much can be said of individuals. All along, society has constructed us to believe that if we are good, beautiful, intelligent… folks will be head-over-heels towards us. Right? Wrong!

There are things we cannot gainsay. For instance, this wisdom from Rainer Zitelmann, Ph.D., historian and sociologist:

“Beliefs such as “quality prevails on its own” or “modesty is a virtue” are among the biggest obstacles to success. No matter whether you are an employee, an entrepreneur or a freelancer: as long as you don‘t learn to market yourself, you‘ll never realize your full potential for success.”

But then, how do you market yourself? That’s the biggest question. In some of these notes, we might look at effective ways of self-marketing. One thing that self-marketing is not, is the art of splashing your pictures, some decent, some seductive, some hilarious, others pathetic… all over on social media.

Too much photos of self is not marketing, its desperation and narcissism. There are exceptions though. It’s OK to go all out on photos if you career primarily depends on looks such as models, bouncers, waiters, waitresses or call girl. Otherwise society is generally harsh on desperadoes. It can exploit the desperation but won’t support the change of fortunes.

So how do we market ourselves? If your domain demands competence, intellect, skill, then demonstrate it. For instance, utilise platforms in the digital space to demonstrate what’s in your skull. Attend conferences, present papers, become a guest speaker, write in newspapers, write a consistent blog. Volunteer your services. Document what you do and network in the right circles. 

Imagine your favourite brand. It could be a phone, a car, a beer, watch name it. Study its attribute. What makes it tick? Unpack yourself. Imagine yourself as a brand at the shelf. Will people want to buy you? Why? Demonstrate those attributes that should seduce people to buy you if were a brand. That way, you will weave yourself in the hearts and minds of the right people. Again, if skill and intellect is your strength, go slow on selfies- they show selfishness.

Erick Wamanji

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