McYou: A Guide to Selling Yourself

McYou: A Guide to Selling Yourself

The modern world is a wonderful, wonderful place. Neoliberalism tells us if you work hard, you will inevitably be rewarded. In the past, you would have certainly been born a peasant and died a peasant. You once would have been rewarded for your hard work after death by singing the praises of God eternally. This system has since been fazed out. Now, you will be rewarded with a penthouse suite, poolside champagne and the ability to get away with being rude to the schlubbs who serve you at fancy restaurants. This is, of course, a much more efficient rewards programme; you won’t have to wait too long to get your just desserts (Profiteroles, Sir?). Besides which, it’s really hard to check Instagram when you’re busy harmonising away in the heavenly choir. 

Do you watch your life with the disappointment of an entrepreneur whose business dreams have collapsed like a Victorian woman who has spotted an eligible bachelor? Do not distress! With this simple guide, cleanups in aisle five, polyester uniforms and wandering customer hands will be a distant nightmare. All that is required is a simple mindset change - think of yourself as a brand. Why do you think that the world has exponentially improved over the last hundred years? A hundred years ago, war rations offered only one type of flour, sugar and milk. Now, we are blessed with myriad brands and products. Now you could break down crying over the pressure of choosing a brand and type of milk - are you more of a Sanatarium So Good Soy Milky sort of person, or is it Lewis Road Creamery (Added Calcium!) that speaks to you? Brands are a simple way of expressing that a product, and you - the brand’s purchaser - possess certain characteristics. If you have an iPhone, you are advertising that you think you are a superior human, whereas if you have another brand of phone, you have obviously made a big mistake. Don’t worry if at the moment you feel you don’t have a personal brand. You do - it’s been stalking just behind you this whole time, unseen. All you need to do is to turn around and invite it in to meet the PR department.

 

How to Create YourPersonal Brand Vision

Just like species out in the jungle, two brands cannot fill the same niche. If two types of animals hunt the same prey, eventually one will outcompete the other. If a town gets too many sushi shops, there will be a sushi shop smack down and only uniquely successful businesses will survive. If you and your Friend Sam are “like exactly the same person, we practically finish…” “…each other's sentences”, you and Sam are going to have to have a personal brand smackdown. Therefore, when you create your mission statement, ensure you avoid filling a common niche. Unless you are really good at being, say, a basic bitch, the brand statement 'I believe that a thick security blanket of normality will protect me from being hated by others who also believe this' is going to require heavy upkeep to remain relevant. Ensure you add something to differentiate yourself amongst your circle. For example, be the most narcissistic, or develop an irritating obsession with polaroid cameras.

 

How to Define Your Target Audience

Of course, your target audience is everyone you know, and, if you aim high, all the people they know. However, the quality of the customer you attract is crucial. The consumer of your product is also an essential tool in its production. There are only so many solo selfies you can take before you go from “strong independent cutie” to “sad sack with no Friends”. The people you employ in leading roles should be attractive. Although, like bridesmaids, make sure they are either slightly less attractive than you or have terrible taste in clothing. You don’t want to be upstaged. Spontaneous and creative Friends make for good investments, the audience will lap up novel content like your ’spon cave rave with my faves’. Steer away from people who have a low threshold of being impressed by memes, they will damage your brand's reputation by tagging you in them.

Business is, at the end of the day, about your product fulfilling a need. If your parents are no longer around enough to fill their little angel’s eyes with the glare of the spotlight, fill the gaping hole in your ego with a cork of Facebook likes. As comedian Bo Burnham said in his recent show ‘Make Happy’, “What do we want more at the end of the day than to lie in bed and watch our life as a satisfied audience member?” As your share prices rocket, and you pour that first glass of Dom Perignon to celebrate, remember this show is for your entertainment. In the end, you are the target audience. And while you’re at it, toast the camera - it’ll make a good profile picture.

 

How to Build Up Your Online and Offline Image

A craftsman is only as good as his tools. Updating this idiom for the modern age, a personal brand is only as good as the products it consumes. We live in an image-saturated culture, so ensuring your brand’s image matches your mission statement is essential to see results. There are many companies which provide the necessary tools to help your brand fill a particular niche of identity. Nothing says ‘I spend a lot of time thinking very deeply about art, you wouldn’t understand’ like a lavender-coloured bob haircut that only the most expensive hairdresser in town could make look persuasive. Nothing says ‘I have an Oedipus complex’ like getting really into vaping. Nothing says ‘I’ll add you on Facebook so my friends can compete to make the rudest comment” like wearing as many Obey, Supreme and Nike items as is feasible to fit on a human body. Nothing says ‘Buy me a drink based on the very very slim possibility I will sleep with you and not just run away clutching this gin and tonic’ like the latest lil' dress from Ruby. In a world saturated by communication, defining yourself with spoken words is frankly a working-class affair. People must be able to tell immediately based on what you own what your brand stands for. It’s good etiquette really, just a polite time saving device. Perhaps at this stage you are broke and have spent all your course related costs on booze. Do not be held back - there is Mum and Dad, who you can tell you desperately ‘need to buy fruit and vitamins’ or, if that isn’t an option, how about taking out a high interest loan? Obviously, in a couple of years, your brand will be big enough to rival Kim K and you will be able to pay it back with just one post of a #spon waist trainer or clean eating selfie.

 

How To Get Free Press Coverage

If you find that your desire to “perform everything, to each other, all the time, for no reason” (Bo Burnham, again) is not sated by Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Tinder, you may have to diversify your investments. Old fashioned approaches, such as career achievements, hobbies and causing drama, will certainly help create engaging content for your brand. If you find that the way the internet has decimated your attention span makes it difficult for you to focus on the internal and slow rewards of these older brand approaches, consider blogging or live tweeting your progress. Eventually, every step you take, every you move you make, you’ll be able turn into excellent content for your outlet of choice. You could begin writing for magazines such as the Critic in order to satisfy your desire to perform in some capacity. You can imagine the readers, who realistically just want to read about a hookup in the blind date, weeping gently at the poignancy of your writing. Or at least, weirdly half smiling at your article in a relatively public place.

 

How to Build Your Brand Through Outreach

The enlightened amongst us know that we are all playing some sort of horrible never-ending game of pass the parcel with our DNA. Of course, the underlying aim of your personal brand is to improve your stakes in this further pointless iterations of the game. McDonald's mission statement may be “our customers favourite place and way to eat and drink”, but along with every other business, is actually “we want to earn all the dollar dollar bills we can”. Your mission statement may be “I want to be the world's best, largest and most friendly trapeze artist” but, in actual fact, it will always at the core be “I want to pass on my sexy DNA with the best possible partner”. Once you have accepted this, and skated over the thin ice covering the deep lake of existential dread that this knowledge fills, you will find yourself able to pursue the cause with ruthlessness. With your iconic personal brand firmly established, you will have no trouble finding people who want to merge brands with you.

The modern world has offered many solutions to finding someone worthy of the amalgamation. Dating apps, such as Tinder, allow you to weed out people who are not aesthetically pleasing enough to be a boon to the brand. Facebook provides enough information so that after meeting someone for the first time, or even not at all, you can skip all the niceties and get straight to the really revealing information- what statuses did they post in 2009? If things are a little dry, there is always porn to offer a sea of unrealistic, ever shifting images which will weirdly be more and less intense than actual sex. This will tide us all over until someone innovative comes along and creates the sexual version of Yelp! When entering a relationship, don’t be shy to throw them out if you find the product ends up not exactly fitting your requirements. Sure, you may be deeply insecure, never try anything you might fail at and have an uncontrollable need to piss in laundry baskets at parties, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with other flawed human beings. If you manage to bumble along with someone smart enough to keep their failings under wraps until the pheromones and things get busy and suddenly you are in love, you have won the game. Just imagine the look on your brand new baby’s face when they unwrap their genetic gifts: Beautiful eyes! Emotional constipation! Always taking the opportunity to wee at inconvenient times!

 

How To Monitor Your Brand

To monitor your brand, the best approach is to be awake in the middle of the night. We find the hours of three or four in the morning is best. For a really in-depth analysis, ensure you have not slept prior to this, and preferably have just finished an acutely uninteresting assignment fueled by coffee and intense panic. Potentially make a phone call to your parents about your future. As an alternative, try sampling from a smorgasbord of social media content. Watch YouTube vloggers that would require self-imposed exile if anyone found out you watched them. Browse the fitspo tag until you have inspiration for self body-shaming to last for the next few years. Look up exotic travel locations and suspend yourself within the belief that visiting them is attainable despite your massive student loan. Maybe you could get a little cottage, live out the rest of your days in peace. Maybe up there under that thatched roof, you wouldn’t need wifi, you could just read a lot and go for nature walks. Consider going and buying some wine but dismiss the desire due to how cold it is outside the bed. Now you are ready.

Turn to Facebook. Look at all your pictures, and wonder what it is like to be outside your body looking at you. Do you really look like that from behind? What did it mean when Jaime liked your profile picture? Was that flirting or just being polite? Should you add some featured photos or does that look a bit desperate? What are you going to do with your life? Oh, here is Riley commenting on something. That was a nice date. Why didn’t you ever talk again? Do you have more likes on your profile picture than your best friend? How many years will it be until your Facebook page becomes obsolete, never to be visited again? You and everyone you love all in a lonesome online graveyard, memes, shitposts, every stupid birthday message, forever frozen in the darkness of a forgotten hyperlink. Should you post this thought to your wall? In ten years, will you think that this status is lame as fuck? Probably, but you post it anyway. Amble along these paths of thought for an hour or so, until you are looking at the profile of Charlie Rivers, who lives in Ibiza, and is a friend of a friend of a friend. 1437 friends, past jobs include planning Coachella, likes The New York Times, Brain Pickings, Frank Ocean, Polaroid Cameras…

Goodnight, power brand. Dream of the expensive cocktails you will buy, surrounded by manicured hands, the adoring looks of friends as you work the room. Inside, you will swell in the knowledge you have finally made it. Your rise is bound to be meteoric. When you awake in the morning, the previous night will be just a small blip in the monthly sales chart. Check Snapchat, check what Donald Trump is up to, delete your tag in a meme that cuts a little too close to the bone, Instagram your breakfast. How well will the sales perform today?  

This article first appeared in Issue 26, 2016.
Posted 11:02am Saturday 8th October 2016 by Mel Ansell.