The Challenge of Personal Brand: Personal Marketing Plan

“Everything new is well-forgotten old.” – Russian proverb

One brightly sunny day – shortly after receiving the news that I was no good at marketing myself – I was at the central branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.  The building alone is fascinating. I was searching through the Business and Econ section, when I looked up and saw this book – “How to Market Yourself” by Michael Dainard.  Completely on impulse, I checked in out and took it with me on the bus.

The main premise of the book is that a structured and systematic approach is required  for your career growth.  Just like for everything else in life.  The book focuses on the creation of a Personal Marketing Plan (PMP) that is aimed to get you to your ultimate career destination.  The author adapted the standard marketing plan usually used to sell a product or service to market “the brand called You”.  The book not only helps the reader understand the basics and objectives of marketing yourself, but also warns not “to fit round pegs in square holes”.  Happiness demands a perfect fit.

The six steps of the Personal Marketing Plan:

  1. Current Situation – assess where you are today.
  2. Goals – determine your ultimate career destination.
  3. SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats – analyze what you need to do to prepare for the journey.  What are your weakness that should be mitigated?  What are your strengths that should be build upon and propagated? Where are the open doors? Who of your competition may be a threat?
  4. Your PMP Game Plan – design a strategy to get you to your ultimate career destination.  What is the career path to it?  What are the milestones that you need to achieve along the way?
  5. Your PMP Action Plan – outline concrete steps that are required to be taken to reach your goals.   When will you be taking them?
  6. Controls – monitor your progress.  Periodically calibrate.  Are you where you were planning to be according to your Game Plan? Correct course.  Persevere.

One of the parts that I liked the most was Appendix 2: Packaging and Promotion.   It talks about the need to conduct market research to find out what type of “packaging” is the most acceptable and, thus, most effective in the industry or profession that you wish to enter.  Basically, you have to make sure that your packaging makes you look like you belong and lets everyone know that you will fit in.  While you network with the representatives of your future profession, pay attention to the following.

  • “What are the perceptions and expectations of successful people in the field?
  • How do they dress and act and expect others to dress and act?
  • What kind of skills and knowledge do they have?
  • What is expected of them by the people they interact with every day?”

Another excellent point the author makes in this part of the book is something that I have always believed in: You actions is what will ultimately promote you.  By building an impeccable reputation you will have others speak highly of you.  The advice that he gives is common sense, but I haven’t heard anyone mention these notions in a very long time.

  • “Always act professionally.
  • Have a sense of humor.
  • Learn to listen.
  • Prepare presentations and written correspondence neatly and conform to the expectations of the profession.
  • Be known for “follow through”.
  • Build and maintain credibility.
  • Promote yourself with taste.”

Conclusion:  “In promoting yourself, honesty and common sense are the two most important ingredients.”  The third one is discipline.  Would you even guess this book was published in 1990?

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