Personal positioning: Marketing yourself in a brand-oriented world

Personal positioning: Marketing yourself in a brand-oriented world

Last week I spoke at a career fair at the University of Washington. My topic was on some of the misconceptions employers and marketers have about Gen Y, but I really wanted talk with them about Personal Positioning.

Why discuss Personal Positioning on the Responsible Marketing Blog? Like LeBron James, Angelina Jolie and Barack Obama, you are a product. And any product worth marketing should be marketed responsibly.

Back in early 1996, I was asked to speak to a group of credit executives about career development. Other than mentoring college students on how to get started in marketing, I knew little about career development so I had to think long and hard about what I’d say.

So I cheated. I decided to talk about something I did know about: marketing. After working through the details, I decided to title the presentation, “Personal Positioning: Marketing Yourself in a Brand-Oriented World.”

The presentation was well received so I was asked to do it again and again. Then in August of 1997, Tom Peters published an article in Issue 10 of Fast Company. Entitled The Brand Called You, it gained significant attention so Peters followed up with a book on the topic.

Thanks to Tom Peters, my Personal Positioning talk was instantly legitimized and I went on to do it countless times, probably getting just a little less than Peters was getting for his speaking engagements.

Here’s how I define personal marketing:

The process of planning and executing the conception, pricing and promotion of your ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy your personal and professional goals.

The Self-Marketing 5 P’s are:

  • Price – Your desired compensation
  • Product – That’s you!
  • Projects – It’s what you do
  • Promotion – The way you promote yourself
  • Position – What makes you unique and why it matters

The Personal Positioning 4 C’s:

  • Category – What’s happening with your position in the marketplace?
  • Competition – Who are the players in your position in the industry?
  • Customer – What does your employer want? What do they need?
  • Company – That’s you. Your success metrics, goals, etc.

And here’s my Personal Positioning formula:

Your unique talents and skills (differentiation)
+ Your personality traits/passion for what you do
+ A focus on the needs of a targeted base of “consumers”
= Benefit to the end-user

Of course, when all is said and done, you need to have a Personal Positioning Statement that explains:

Who you are
Who you are for
How you are different; and
Why that matters

Once you can answer these questions thoughtfully, you’ll have the communications cornerstone you need for your personal brand.

And that’s the responsible thing to do.

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