Selling Your Most Important Asset: Yourself

After a two month hiatus in which I pondered what to write about, either for general interest or in relation to advertising, I realized I’d forgotten a vital subject.

When talking about marketing a product, brand or concept, I believe that the most important product or concept you have to market is yourself.

If you’re reading this, right about now I’m sure you’re wondering what I mean when I say you can market yourself as a product or a concept.

Marketing yourself as a product, I’d say most commonly occurs when we’re looking for a job. In this scenario, you’re hopefully dressed sharp, with a well presented resume that lays your experience and credentials black and white, trying to convince Mr. Manager So-And-So why you’d be an asset to their company.

How are you supposed to convince Mr. Manager? Not just by answering questions, oh no. That’s not enough in today’s day and age. It’s in the way you answer the questions, not to mention how you incorporate your experience and skills into the company’s mission as well as the job description.

But even that’s the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes, it’s a casual quip about the way you’re dressed that earns you a laugh, or striking up a conversation about the Canucks when you notice the flag on the manager’s desk.  Any little thing to make you memorable and imprint you in Mr. Manager’s mind, even if it’s a hand-crafted card thanking them for their time.

As for marketing yourself as a concept, it’s more so like marketing yourself as an example in a scenario while brainstorming ideas at a board meeting, let’s say.

You place yourself inside the concept as a consumer, as a producer of a product or service, or the actual idea. Talk about innovative. Refer to yourself as the idea to create a new service for helping families turn home movies into DVDs for example. By placing yourself in the scenario, not only are you letting the talking heads in charge that you’re serious about the idea, but you’re also forcing yourself to think on your toes.

Imagine trying to market yourself in your social life. Isn’t that how we all try and expand our social circles? The two best examples I can think of on this are talking to someone on the bus, and creating an ad on a site like craigslist.

There IS one main difference between the two though, you can only press the ‘delete’ button in one of those scenarios. When you try to market yourself and make an impression in person, your words should be chosen and measured, based on the other person’s facial expression, voice and body language.

When you’re online, you’re free to do what you want.  You can be free with your words and what impression you want them to make and you can also be picky about who you want reading those words, or looking at your picture. Either way, you’re still marketing yourself.

We’re still looking for a connection, albeit a friendship or relationship, and both those instances may be the truest way any of us would ever market ourselves.

Perhaps, learning how to market yourself socially will be the reason for your successful marketing professionally.



Music as Evolution: Spinning the Soundtrack to Life

If you stopped someone on the street and asked him why he liked a particular song, there’s a higher likelihood that the response you’d get would simply be something along the lines of “because I do.”

Unfortunately, I’ve found a limited number of people who actually spend time thinking about why they enjoy the music they do, let alone someone who is willing to talk about it. Music for me is not just about listening to notes and lyrics as entertainment.

Music is about each beat, the rhythm, the movement and the way the actual sound makes you feel. Music is a collaboration of the artist’s instruments, beats and lyrics all united for a single purpose: to tell a story. The story can be humorous, tragic or inspirational, but it’s this combination of elements that I look for in a good song.

A good song can entertain you; a great song can make you feel alive. With a potent mixture of fantastic instruments playing notes of the right fit, the correct beat allowing you to feel as though your footfalls match the same, and lyrics that speak to your heart, a great song can be the greatest high you can ever experience, greater than any drug you can find.

Above all, a good song is a true testament to the artist’s ability, for those who write their own songs, it tests their ability as producers to find and arrange the correct class of instruments, as songwriters, not only to find exquisite lyrics that will convey the story they wish to tell, but above all, to find the correct flow of notes onto the sheets.

To truly immerse yourself in the music is to ask yourself each time you listen to a song; what is the artist trying to say, what message are they trying to make sure you understand, and how does it make you feel? Are you able to connect with the picture the lyrics paint in your mind, does it relate to your life and your experiences?

Over the years, from Michael Jackson to Evanescence, I’ve encountered a lot of music, from all genres across the board that I would deem to be songwriting and producing perfection. The tireless hours, blood, sweat and tears that a competent artist spends on his/her or their craft cannot be made up for by manufactured so-called ‘image’ music.

What I refer to as ‘image’ music refers to the names and the celebrities attached to the art of songwriting, those who make more money in sponsorship deals and tabloid headlines. There are those, without naming names, who ride the coattails of their parents, or on their images of being sex symbols in order to sell their records.

Quite frankly, the state of much of the music industry of the 21st century disgusts me, and I choose instead to listen to artists that the majority of their music does not receive mainstream airplay. For those artists, it is not about image, it is about blood and tears, and a God-given talent to place what they feel, what they think and what they’ve experienced that they can’t forget, onto the page. What airplay they receive comes from niche stations and publicity off official websites, social networking sites and fan generated appreciation.

It is these artists that create the soundtrack that is my everyday life. Each note from a guitar, drum or cello brings inspiration; each word paints poetic ideals in my mind. Much of what they share with the world I have also felt in my life.

I feel as though my relationship with music and song comes full circle. The artist(s) shares his/her or their vision with the world, their thoughts, feelings, experiences and inspiration, and in turn it is inspiration for me to write my own interpretation of their words and the pictures they paint.

The soundtrack of my life does indeed have different artists from genres I would have never previously taken an interest in, but each one serves as inspiration and serves to melt reality and make ideas that much sharper in my mind.

Music is something that can lift you higher than you’ve ever been before and yet simultaneously bring you back down to earth when it’s over. Music is the only thing in this world that I believe continually is being re-interpreted and re-invented and that lasts through all ages.

For every manufactured tabloid image in the music industry, there are those who spend years of blood, poverty, tears and pain to achieve even moderate success. And it is to them that I send a salute and let them know to continue honing their craft because there will always be one person drawing inspiration from their exceptional abilities.