The Key to Success in Life: Branding

Today it is difficult to distinguish yourself from the masses. With 14 billion or so fellow human beings wandering this little blue planet, it is easy to be dismissed or ignored. You want to be seen as an individual but there are thousands if not tens of thousands of people out there just like you. So in this day and age, how are you supposed to get a job? Start your own business? Win over family and friends? The solution is simple: Sell yourself. Be a product. Become your own brand.

It’s easier than it sounds. The first step: image. Pick a look and stick with it. Don’t confuse people with a variety of clothes or hairstyles. Choose something strong and distinct. Police officer. Ballerina. Cowboy. Avoid ambiguity. Be clear about who you are. Use catchphrases: “everyday low prices” “you’ll like the way you look, I guarantee it” “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Stay consistent. Don’t contradict yourself. For an added touch, consider using an accent or a language other than your own.

It’s also important to improve yourself. That’s the only way to keep up with the competition. But make sure to introduce the changes gradually. If you learn how to juggle, for instance, this is a good thing, it will bring you more attention, but start off slow. First, simply carry around a ball. Don’t bounce it. Definitely don’t throw it in the air. After a few months, you can begin tossing it casually. People will perceive it as a tic or a habit. Something you do when you’re thinking. But they’ll also be impressed by your hand-eye coordination. In a few more months, you can add another ball. Your peers won’t be shocked when you start tossing both with one hand in an endless cycle. They will talk about you. They will take pictures. When you advance to three balls, you will receive a standing ovation. You’ll get a raise. And when you do it with knives and torches, well, people will see you as a better person, no, more than a person, something they can place on their living room shelves.

Next step: advertise. You have to let people know who you are and what you have to offer. I recommend billboards and radio ads. Classics. If you’re feeling innovative, try an interactive web commercial. Make a video of yourself lounging on your couch in your cowboy outfit, repeating, “No, we don’t build cars, but make no mistake, we are a car company.” Then include a link at the end of the ad that takes the viewer to your personal website or, better yet, to a live conversation with you. You’ll never have trouble again meeting new people or making a memorable first impression.

But don’t forget proper marketing. You can’t please everyone. If you try too hard to reach all demographics, then you might alienate your true friends. Instead, conduct surveys and one-on-one interviews with potential clients and determine what attracts and repels them. You might really like singing out loud when you jog around the park but if Asian women 42-49 don’t enjoy that and you want them to be part of your social network, then you’re going to have to change your ways. Your audience always knows best.

Then, once you’ve established yourself as a trusted product, it’s time to merchandise. Print t-shirts with your face and catchphrases on it. Design figurines capturing your most distinctive poses. Record a series of audio diaries. Sell videos of you eating lunch with fans. Try coffee mugs. Flags. Backpacks. Pots and pans. Anything that sells. Set up kiosks in malls. Create your own online store. Choose cheap manufacturers. Whenever you submit a resume, include an autographed button or tie clasp, and you’ll get the job for sure. When you go on dates, bring your partner a necklace or keychain with your initials on it and love will be yours for the taking.

If you do well enough, you could be bought out by an even more successful person. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious you could purchase other people’s images and make your fan base even larger. With effective branding, anything is possible. The sky is the limit. The world is your oyster. The shrimp is your disciple. But whatever you choose, remember: be yourself. What people really want to see, deep down, is the true, unfiltered you.

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