Today’s Question is: Why is all marketing a lie and why is it important to market yourself and what you do? This is a really really hard question for the saints amongst us.
The Buddha is meant to have said “teach them the illusion until they are ready for truth” and someone else who was pretty smart said “tell the what they want to hear until they are ready to hear what you want to tell them.” Someone else wrote “when the student is ready the teacher appears.” And the list goes on. I think someone else wrote “don’t throw pearls before swine” or something like that. And someone wrote “marketing is the art of creating a problem people don’t know they have and then solving it.” Consulting is the art of taking someones watch, telling them the time, and then charging a fortune for it.”
Whatever quotes you search for about life, marketing has a hand in the illusion. Take romance for example: romance is the art of focussing on what is good and ignoring the opposite. Something most people find easy when they first meet a new partner but over time seems to swing the other way, focusing on the bad news and ignoring the opposite.
If there is a universal law that says, in so many different ways, that there are two sides to everything, marketing is the opposite. The presentation of one side of something in order to make it attractive. In sales, we divide the communication into feature, advantage and benefit, speaking only of benefit. Of course, it’s a lie. There is feature, disadvantage and drawback. But that’s not going to sell anything.
The problem with marketing and romance, is that some people get so good at it they loose an eye. One eyed people think romance and marketing, seduction, is truth. This can become a problem and cause, what is generically known as depression. Depression comes as a result of elation and elation is the one eyed view of life.
This one eyed view is that marketing, romance and upper emotional feelings are real. The thinking process of elation is usually the result of a reaction to a situation that is toxic. Someone in pain, someone in a loveless home, or a parent whose own life is incomplete having unrealistic expectations of 100% success and happiness for their kids. Elation is a meme.
We know Coke adds Life, well that’s what we’re told. And Diamonds are Forever. And the best of life is free. Brighter Smile with Colgate. Just do it, with Nike. The branding byline is a magical meme that, if it’s good enough implants itself in our mind and bypasses all logic to cause an emotional connection with a product.
It’s the same in a strip-teas bar (so I’m told) – where dancers cause patrons to bypass all rational evaluation of the dancer and simply buy, or feel attracted to, the brand.
In his book “BLINK” Malcolm Gladwell illustrates that this automated connection between what we see in a blink and what we perceive the person to be, is so deeply wired we don’t even think twice about certain observations. In the book he tests himself, an African American man, on his Blink judgements of African American subjects and finds himself incredibly negatively judgemental. It’s astonishing to witness this.
In my life I have dates and shared my life with several super models. The amazing insight is that men leave them alone at parties and events because men think the super good-looking and well dressed model is way out of their league. It demonstrates how easily we judge ourselves. The best selling book series ever produced was the “FOR DUMMIES” series. Shows what we think of ourselves. In a blink.
The point of all this is both mental health and personal branding and knowing the difference. Mental health can be achieved if we seek truth. In other words, get beyond the meme’s and the blinks that drive us and instead seek truth, balance. This is the innerwealth of life. Balanced thinking, balanced perception, balanced. It is the greatest of human powers because from this launchpad of solid rock, the world is what it is, and that’s ok. Truth is Coke is good and bad, Nike is good and bad. People are good and bad. Life is good and bad. From this, great investments can be made into a world where few others can see this truth. Most of the world is run on the perception of good without bad and bad without good. That’s how you build a business and win a heart.
But sitting down to play a piano with one finger, and only playing middle C, is not highly engaging. It might be good from a truth point of view but this will not attract customers, not hold a partnership, not cause a child to want to emulate the parent. And so, we have personal brand, the music we play to the world around us to cause the world around us to Blink in the right way when they meet or work with us. This personal brand is not, as some claim, authentic, but it is also, authentic. Let me explain before you jump ship.
You have every human trait. None are missing. You’re a goodie and a baddie. You usually make your privates private and your public public, meaning you tell the world how good you are and you bring home the skid marks on your undies. Personal brand is a terrible confusion.
A person dresses up to go to work. They put on the clothes that’ll give the right impression, do their hair to cause whatever reaction they want and can be any number of personality qualities required for the role they play. It is like taking on a character in a movie. However, other characters in the movie might not be good at their role or might be even better at their role. And now, your brand, your well presented, nicely designed personality and character, is under siege. What to do?
You can become the flakey one, and take untold amounts of sick leave from stress and blame the company or someone. You can become the arsehole, and whip arse to get things done. You can take pills to pick you up when you are down and more pills to pulll you down when you are up. You can re-label yourself anything from she, he, they, it, we, me and the list is long. You might even become transgender and have surgery. Your brand is your brand. And somewhere buried in all that character, that’s all authentic, you have a job to do. Working from home makes it easier because, apart from a few on-screen performances, your brand can be you private self and your public self all churned up. Which is fine until you need to get to the office and can’t work out what to wear or how to behave.
Most junior people do not realise how much energy goes into this aspect of life. Personal branding at the top is a very refined art. Keeping your privates private and your public image designed right, is a massive investment. All movie stars have this and even when it looks like they’re accidentally out clubbing and high as a kite, there is no accident in it.
Staying sane in amongst all this essential self development, personal brand and character representation is very very tricky. Mostly because there’s always a leak in the boat. Someone else has the keys to the vault you call your private life. A person can, if they are not careful, become torn between who they are at work and who they are at home or, at worst who they portray in their character in life and who they portray in their mind. This is where the wheels can fall off.
Putting on a face at work can be exhausting, sitting in meetings smiling at stupidity, laziness and people who just don’t give a shit. Or handling an obsessive compulsive boss who wastes your time. No wonder alcohol sales escalate in recessions.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Given that every human has every trait, and that brand is important at work and for that matter at home, and being 100% transparent, due to the massive influence of Blink memories and memes in the people you are dealing with, there must be a way to be Brand, be your best at work and yet, not go insane in the process of faking it till you make it.
- You need a purpose for all this greater than you. While how you feel and how people feel about you is your motive you are going to be exhausted and frustrated continually. With a purpose bigger than yourself, you get a better reason than how you or they feel for being a version of yourself that works and sells.
- You need to be able to change clothes quickly. For work you put on work clothes (unless you work from home like some in their pyjamas all day). And when you come home, you put on your play clothes, or sports clothes or romance clothes. You need to be able to change hats quickly and respect yourself for doing it. This is where your vision, inspiration and purpose statement fits in, aligned with values and goals, clear balanced and aspirational living laced with coaching driven hope and self belief.
- But, you must know and value the real you. Beyond personality and public appearances there is a you, a soul, a spirit, your heart. Whatever you label it, this part of you loves. It loves and loves and loves. And this you deserves fresh air from under the clothes. Sometimes we forget we are wearing clothes and forget to take them off and the clothes grow on us and we say “this is me, I am what I think,” or “this is me, I am my success.” All this comes from forgetting to take off the clothes. The clothes of sport, parenting, working, leading, romancing and friending. Naked means without personality, character, just being you. And this is where my coaching can be a big help.
When work becomes work and love is out of sight, when a relationship or children become the focus of your love, you are lost. When what you think becomes how you know you, you are in deep poo.
When you learn that what you think can be changed, when you recognise that brand is important but it is not really you, just a part of you, you put on display, and that there is the opposite side of you to your public brand and that this opposite is as worthy of love as the brand you begin to create sanity.
Stress, anxiety, exhaustion and depressions are the symptoms of a thinking process that cannot tell the difference between marketing and truth. Self marketing, brand, romance and product marketing, are ways we emotionally connect to make the music on the piano entertaining. But to a great musician, middle C, played with one finger, has every single note within it. To a musician with a good ear, one note on the keyboard, is the equivalent of one soul to the individual who is inspired. Everything is contained within that note, and the ability to play all the notes, to engage and entertain, is the mastery of music, the love and respect for sounds and feelings and the miracle of existence. To the sane individual, with an ear for their own soul note, the soul, that soul contains the universe and mastery of life, brand, emotions, marketing, romance, money and more is simply the love and respect for that one single note.
The bridge between Soul and Brand, between truth and marketing, between spirit and emotions, is found in five simple, powerful wisdoms. The Universal Laws. These translate the myth, the rhetoric, the meme’s, the blinks, the subconscious thoughtless reactions, the loss of self, the danger of being trapped in the identity of the ego. The Universal laws turn the music back to that single note. And that makes the music, magnificent.