So there you are, strolling up and down the aisle at your favourite supermarket, and you reach the coffee section. What drives you to select one product over another?
Maybe you believe that ‘you get what you pay for’ and like the reassurance of an expensive jar. Maybe you will only ever buy Fair Trade or organic coffee on principle, or perhaps you simply go for what’s on offer this week.
Whatever your selection process, your choice displays your values and reveals something of what matters to you. And I bet the product you select has been packaged in just the right colours and with just the right lettering and imagery to attract your attention. Marketing people are clever like that.
The point is, when you are selecting your jar of coffee, or washing up liquid, or a car, or a ballpoint pen, the discretionary choice you make is strongly influenced by the marketing messages that surround that product.
So how about Brand YOU then? You’re a saleable commodity too, you know! Whether in a truly commercial environment when you are trying to get a job or win a contract, or in a purely social situation, when you want that girl to notice you or to get on with the in-laws… you are engaged in the act of packaging yourself up in the most appealing way, and putting out an advertisement that says “here I am, and this is what I stand for.”
Salespeople often talk about their products in terms of ‘features’ (that is, what are the qualities of the particular thing they are selling), and ‘benefits’ (which are all the wonderful outcomes that owning this particular item will bring you). They know that buyers are way more interested in the benefits of a product than in its features alone.
Think about any car ad you’ve ever seen on TV. All those cars have the necessary features – the ad will mention the electric windows, the large, adjustable boot space, the sunroof and fuel consumption. But the REAL message is this: “Buy this car and you will get friends/sex/independence/respect/fun… you get the idea. It’s the potential benefits that sell the car.
So, back to you then. You may be very aware of the positive ‘features’ of Brand YOU, and I very much hope that if I asked you to write them down you would come up with an honest and truthful list. (It is a good thing to understand your plusses and minuses in equal measure). But what are the potential benefits that being associated with you will bring to the job interviewer, the mother-in-law, the people you mix with socially?
Get your marketing head on. Know what you stand for, and make sure you package it up authentically so other people can see it too. Then they’ll understand the benefits they’ll get from being associated with Brand YOU, and that’s when you start getting their buy-in.